Twice as good: A few words about conservative media

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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During my time at The Daily Caller, I’ve written a lot of posts (some of them good, others forgettable). But the column I’m probably the most proud of was a simple critique of a news story about Marco Rubio.

After it was posted, Reuters made five corrections to their article.

The media often gets it wrong (see Dan Rather, Jayson Blair, Jonah Lehrer, et al.), and one way new media outlets like TheDC can benefit the public is by holding the mainstream media accountable.

And don’t forget the politicians. As you might have heard, the press corps recently expressed disappointment over being denied a photo-op when the president played golf with Tiger Woods in Florida.

But when my colleague Neil Munro had the audacity to ask the president a question about how his DREAM order might affect unemployed workers, many of those same reporters remained silent or sided with the administration’s desire to put protocol ahead of transparency and accountability.

This is all to say that anyone who wants to bash center-right media outlets for shoddy reporting had better look in the mirror.

Having said that, conservative media outlets are not immune to lapses and errors of judgment — nor should we pretend otherwise.

We all make mistakes. There are mistakes made because people are lazy, busy, or required to write a lot of copy every day — and because there are too few editors to go around. This business is fast-paced and competitive. There’s the desire to not be “scooped.” Grammar mistakes and typos seem ubiquitous in the blog era.

But perhaps the most concerning are the “too good to check” mistakes. These tend to occur when writers view themselves as activists instead of journalists — when we want something to be true.

Every writer should aspire to be honest, thorough, and ethical. But my contention is that center-right journalists must to go the extra mile in establishing credibility. (This isn’t fair, but who said it would be?)

Condi Rice is famous for saying that, in order to get ahead in 1950s-era Birmingham, her parents told her she had to be “twice as good.”

The obstacles we face in a hostile media environment are nothing compared to that, of course, but we should still aspire to those same high standards. We should all try to be “twice as good.”

Matt K. Lewis