Via Enter Stage Right is an article about the history of journalism’s relationship with accuracy. The main thrust is that nothing much has changed in that regard, at least according to the critics. It cites James Agee and George Orwell, who wrote of journalists in the earlier part of the 20th Century about the same way we do today.
I would, however, argue that there is a significant difference, and that is the general presumption of accuracy. Back in those days, journalists were considered disreputable, not much above used car salesmen and politicians. Somehow, despite the lack of any real improvement, journalists managed to create an image of honest truth seekers. I fall in to the school that thinks this is because of the change of journalists coming up from the ranks to being members of the chatterati. Class and other convergent interests then allowed the opinion makers (who now operated Old Media in addition to their previous redoubts) to put over the idea of journalism as a higher calling.
Like most such schemes that deny a fundamental reality, it had to eventually unravel and that’s what we’re seeing today. We will truly have full circle when journalists once again have earned the reputation they deserve.