# Media Criticism



Mercy killing

Ira Lacher‘s open letter to Lucas Grundmeier, opinion editor or The Des Moines Register.

Dear Mr. Grundmeier,

Ordinarily, I would submit this to you as a guest opinion essay. But you’ve announced that the Register, once counted among America’s great newspapers, will no longer consider unsolicited opinion pieces. CORRECTION: The newspaper will continue to consider unsolicited guest columns but will “accept far fewer” of them in the print edition.

So I share my views on this blog, which now exists as apparently the sole outlet for members of the Des Moines community wishing to make their opinions known, civilly and responsibly.

In the print edition dated March 13, 2022, you commented about the addition of a new columnist, saying: “I believe this demonstrates the Register’s continued commitment to providing forums for robust discussion of community topics.” My response, to you and the other top executives of the “media company,” which you now call yourself: No. It doesn’t. More about that later.

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Iowa tv anchor calls Biden policy "crazy"—twice

U.S. Representative Ashley Hinson gives a lot of television interviews. The first-term Republican is comfortable on the air, thanks to her broadcast journalism background. She is guaranteed friendly treatment from conservative networks like Fox News and Newsmax, and Iowa stations usually let her set the agenda with questions like, “What are you most proud of?” or, “You introduced a bill in the House. Just tell me more about that bill and what it does.”

Last week, KWWL’s morning anchor Daniel Winn went beyond pitching softballs to amplifying Hinson’s talking points. More troubling, Winn twice characterized a controversial Biden administration initiative as “crazy.”

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Iowa journalists form new group, with politicians as gatekeepers

After months of planning, journalists announced the creation of the Iowa Capitol Press Association on November 30. The group’s mission “is to support robust coverage of Iowa state government for the benefit of the public and to promote policies that encourage transparency and access” as well as safe working conditions for reporters.

Association president Erin Murphy of Lee Newspapers said in a news release, “Our members have enjoyed a respectful working relationship with our leaders in state government. We look forward to working with them to foster a climate of transparency and accountability, for the benefit of the people of Iowa.”

For now, Republican legislative leaders and their partisan appointees will have the final say on who can participate in the association.

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Being objective about "objectivity"

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. -promoted by Laura Belin

After almost 60 years of coping with the concept of “objectivity” in journalism, it finally dawned on me that a key problem is a lot of folks are not objective in discussing “objectivity.”

Consider: The New Yorker magazine offered a 2,026-word essay on why the concept of “moral clarity” might replace “objectivity” in assessing press coverage. The Economist magazine followed a week or so afterward with a 1,530 word essay on today’s status of “objectivity.”

But in those 3,500 words — get this — “Fox” or “Fox News” is nowhere to be found.

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Warning: Journalists doing deference

Ira Lacher: Too many media leaders still don’t seem to understand that by not calling out Trump for who and what he is, they are perpetuating his legitimacy. -promoted by Laura Belin

Why aren’t we being told what is obvious to anyone with a brain: The president of the United States is a lunatic. A dangerous lunatic.

That inescapable fact was brought home on April 23, when the person holding the office that for decades has been revered by hundreds of millions of people speculated that Americans could inject themselves with chemical disinfectant or submit to exposure of heat and light as a way to cure COVID-19.

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News you cannot, should not use

Some advice from Ira Lacher, who spent two decades working on newspapers. -promoted by Laura Belin

Quit looking at the news!

That seems to be counterintuitive in an era when we are crying out for the latest information. But that’s the point: We’re mostly not getting good information. What we’re getting is a lot of speculation, and that’s driving us nuts, or, as many mental health professionals assert, into anxiety and depression — which makes us even more susceptible to contracting COVID-19.

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