‘Don’t watch TV news’ is always good advice.
I feel about the media the way I feel about Comey talking about the Huma Abedin emails a week before the election. What were/are they to do?
So much of what journalism attempts to do is get to the truth, or enough of it, so that other institutions can do the course-correcting. Sometimes that institution is the electorate, but that’s rare and we shouldn’t have much faith in it. (See Caplan, The Myth of the Rational Voter, and Brennan, Against Democracy, or the PennStateHoops.com OT board).
Woodward and Bernstein get all the credit for Watergate, but it was Judge John Sirica who really got the goods. The press coverage probably influenced Sirica (this is likely more than a bit self-serving, but Bob ‘Woodward also says that after Nixon’s resignation, the presiding federal judge, the late John Sirica, told him “flat out” that the Post’s stories influenced him to crack down on the Watergate conspirators.’)
The riveting Congressional investigation probably did more to turn the public than any journalism did.
I guess I’m arguing that it doesn’t really matter what you or the public think about journalism so long as the audience is large enough to stay in business and the American institutions (again, the Big 2 in this instance are the rule of law and accountable government) are paying attention and sort the wheat from the chaff.
But if you’re really trying to know what’s going on, TV is not a good place to start.