One question that’s pretty hard to answer these days is “Who is a reporter?”
Is this someone who works for a newspaper? A television station? A radio network? Most folks would say, yes, these people are reporters.
But as I have mentioned before, among my Seven Truths They Don’t Want You To Know About the Media is Truth #2 -There are no mainstream media (MSM). Of course we have big and small media; however, we use all kinds of media and our old legacy media hold no special status.
We saw this powerfully back in June of 2102 when both CNN and Fox News initially got the story wrong about the Supreme Court’s decision on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. And both networks got it wrong in exactly the same way. In their effort to be the first to report it, both cable news networks initially reported that the court had overturned the individual mandate requirement that everyone purchase health insurance or pay a fine/tax because the court rejected the argument that this was justified by the commerce clause of the constitution. Except that that that Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion went on to say that the mandate could be justified under congress’s authority to levy taxes.
But you know who got it right? SCOTUSblog, a niche blog that typically drew a few
thousand readers a day. As I wrote at the time,
SCOTUSblog was the authoritative news site that everyone turned to for immediate and accurate newsabout the decision. And on a day that several bigger web sites had trouble staying online because of heavy demand, SCOTUSblog had server capacity to spare despite drawing hundreds of times more traffic than normal.
So you would think that when the reporter from SCOTUSblog applied for a U.S. Senate press pass (something that is required to get a Supreme Court press pass), he was turned down. Why? It’s hard to tell, beyond a “We’ve never done it that way before” kind of argument.
Here’s a great update from SCOTUSblog on their quest for one of the best organizations covering the U.S. Supreme Court trying to get official recognition of their status as journalists.
Because credentialing the folks we all turn to for accurate information just seems like a good idea…