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Skepticism Increasing With Age

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"In other words, it's among the people who've spent a lifetime with traditional media that we now find the largest numbers who don't trust them. This could mean that the media have begun doing things terribly wrong. It could also mean a lot more people now dismiss out of hand media they're unfamiliar with. When two out of five middle-aged pollees say almost nothing's believable in the Wall Street Journal--a preposterous impression--chances are the Journal name has lost the trust of a lot of people who've never picked it up" [Hot Type, April 22].

In no particular order . . .

1. What difference does it make if the Journal loses the "trust" of people who've never read it? That's what is wrong with the whole Pew survey, that they polled people who don't know the product. I don't drive a Ford, never have and never will. I suspect that would disqualify me from responding to a JD Power survey about Fords. Rightly so.

2. Speaking of the Journal . . . For me, the right-wing bias of the editorial page does make me trust the reporting less. I know CW says that reporters there are truly independent, but when the powers-that-be are such advocates of PNAC and the entire Republican/corporate agenda I can't help but be suspicious about what I'm reading or what they're covering. I often feel the same way about the Trib, especially after their Bush endorsement. Even if their stories are "neutral," the choice of what to cover may not be. Perhaps as I get older, my eye gets more discerning?

3. As for the Times, the supposedly "liberal" voice of America, I'm continually amazed at just how sloppy, lazy, or misleading they can be. From Judith "Chalabi's Steno" Miller to David "Babbling" Brooks, the paper of record must be taken with a grain of salt. Thank god for Krugman, Rich, and (sometimes) Dowd. They're the real reasons to continue reading it. (Though some of their reporters do great work.)

4. The bottom line for me is that while I do continue reading those papers and others, I find myself reading more and more blogs (horrors!). I guess it's like cable television. I don't have to suffer the ghosts of Channel Two via rabbit ears. In fact, I don't ever have to watch WBBM at all. I can get news, entertainment, sports, etc from any of 100 channels. Eventually I might find myself back at Two while surfing. But my habits have changed, and they better not be counting on my viewership.

Sorry if this was rambling or boring, and thanks for your always interesting column.

Greg Novak

Chicago

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