One of the mantras of journalists who insist that paywalls will work, or that the world needs professional journalists is that they do such important work informing the public. And, certainly, sometimes that's true. The problem is that it's so rare. Jay Rosen
points us to a report from the Columbia Journalism Review, where it notes that very little of the reporting on what to do about the healthcare system is actually
about the healthcare system. Instead, it's mostly reporting on the chatter about the healthcare system
The Project for Excellence in Journalism, for example, found that so far this year 55 percent of coverage of health care has been about the political battles, 16 percent about the protests, and only 8 percent about substantive issues like how the system works now, what will happen if it remains unchanged, and what proposed changes will mean for ordinary people.
In other words, the press is spending more time on the fighting, rather than on the substance. It's filler and fluff -- that often misleads and distracts from the actual discussion. And we're supposed to value that? There's a tremendous need for thoughtful discussions about healthcare, and it's a spot where professional journalists could be a huge help. But, it's a lot easier to just focus on the play-by-play commentary, rather than actually adding value.