The following was suggested by Alex Moody, who posts on the DailyKos http://www.dailykos.com and works at Dean for America. These ideas are germinating in the DailyKos community, and are a healthy start at answering the need for a higher level of accountability in the process of selecting the next President of the United States.
It seems to me that we could make an interesting start by selecting a dozen major press journalists who are covering the candidates, and forming a non-partisan network of bloggers to monitor them. We could do this on a trial basis, and explore what it takes to sustain it. Perhaps the network might be hosted here at Berkman. We’d need to explore this with John Palfrey, and we would also need to make sure that we were indeed fair and balanced :).
Here is Alex’s summary of the idea:
Media Monitoring Network
The MMN is designed to monitor the journalists who report the news of today. Journalism has developed a lack of accuracy and responsibility, and has a propensity to promote controversial spin on statements and events that have been taken out of context. We stand vigilant against the degradation of the integrity of the media, and seek to promote honest reporting.
1. A community of concerned citizens who are willing to monitor and respond to careless journalism.
2. A system that provides links to the major news organizations, and the daily (or weekly) columns of certain selected journalists.
*Develop a system that divides the various journalistic ‘beats’ amongst the greater organization, to insure the widest possible effort.
3. A Web Log that allows the ‘citizen soldiers’ to report their findings to the greater community.
*Allow comments and promote discussion amongst the community to flesh out the contradiction or misstatement in the report, to insure quality results from the community as a whole.
4. A Strategic response formula, to ‘enforce’ responsible journalism.
*Develop a form response that includes:
1. What was reported by the journalist? (Direct Quotes)
2. What the reality was, and how that differs from what was reported.
3. Why this is irresponsible, and what the community expects the editor and the journalist to do about it. (i.e. Issue a correction)
*Distribute the response to the community, who then adapt it in their own words.
*Distribute the contact information for the following people:
1. Managing Editor
3. National Editors Desk (Phone Number)
*Flood the above people with a concentrated response, which is respectful, well thought-out, accurate, and massive.
*Distribute open letters or online petitions to a media advisory list in egregious cases of bias or woefully inaccurate reporting.