Clearly, it would be a dramatic change if such a a news organization promised to be "skeptical of all facts gathered and report them only when we are reasonably satisfied of their accuracy....[and] make sure that our language accurately describes the facts and does not imply a fact we have not confirmed." That would definitely be an end to hearing about "militants" being killed in drone attacks and air strikes and "terrorists" being anyone the US government claims is a terrorist.
In these times of obscene financial scams and fraud at the highest levels of our corporate government, just consider how refreshing economic news coverage would be if that imaginary news outlet made "rigorous efforts at all levels of the news gathering and programming process to ensure our facts are not only accurate but also presented in the correct context."
Surprisingly, there is a large, national news organization that is publicly committed to upholding all the standards listed above. Every one of them comes from NPR's published code of ethics. It is a code of ethics squarely at odds with the goal of being mainstream, and yet NPR's ombudsman, Alicia Shepard, repeatedly - and unabashedly - reminds listeners that NPR is determined to be nothing but mainstream. Her most recent statements on the subject came in an interview on WAMU highlighted on her blog,
"NPR started in 1971 as an alternative news network and it has definitely - and more towards the left - and it has definitely and intentionally become more mainstream. I am not advocating that it be mainstream; I am explaining that that is what has happened and that they consider themselves - and I speak of them in the third person - to be like the New York Times or the Washington Post. You can listen to NPR and you can get everything..."Despite claiming that she is "not advocating that it be mainstream" she then goes on to respond to a caller by stating
"I don't think that you hear a lot of libertarians or socialists or Green Party people on NPR and part of my job is to pass that on. I don't think it's going to change dramatically....I think it's always a matter of balance and what your goals are and what your intention is and as I've said I think NPR's intention is to be more mainstream."Someone needs to remind Ms. Shepard to read NPR's code of ethics and explain to listeners how it can possibly meet it's commitments while aiming to be "more mainstream." And claiming that "You can listen to NPR and you can get everything..." just doesn't cut it as an explanation, especially considering the evidence to the contrary that this blog has amassed over the years."