We recently noted that a tiny percentage of the news coverage about healthcare were actually about the healthcare system. Instead, most articles were about the politics and the protests. On top of that, we’ve noted the silly games used by cable news hosts to draw attention to stories when there isn’t anything behind them. Romenesko points us to a story, by Mark Bowden in The Atlantic, that combines both of these things, talking about how journalism today often seems to mean the quest for ammunition, rather than the quest for information.
The article focuses on the news coverage of Sonia Sotomayor‘s nomination to the Supreme Court — and how most of the news focused on two out-of-context quotes that Sotomayor made in addresses to college students years ago. Bowden does a decent job noting that much of the work that digs up these sorts of things is done by political operatives, not journalists, but he doesn’t do much to actually fault the mainstream press for making those hit pieces “the story.” Instead, he oddly talks up the fact that pretty much all of the news coverage (both cable and network news) focused on these same pieces dug up by bloggers, and then spends a lot of time suggesting that the problem here is the bloggers: