“The government that is closest to the people governs best.” That sentiment was expressed recently by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and it’s long been a staple of conservative political philosophy and of candidates who want federal programs to be taken over by state and local governments. But liberals embrace it in their own way when they talk about “participatory democracy” and the need for people to be able to make decisions about the issues that directly affect them.
The question is: what does it mean for government to be “closer” to people?
As I've said before, the objectivity-fetishizing conventions of straight
news reporting make me crazy. It's not just the odd philosophical
throwback of implying that reporters can somehow avoid writing as
particular people situated in particular contexts. It's also the
convoluted copy, in which even plain facts can't be stated plainly if
they happen to be unpopular.
So I was glad when NPR released its new ethics handbook,
in which among other things the network states that it favors "truth"
over "the appearance of balance" and adds that "if the balance of
evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we
acknowledge it in our reports."
Two days after graduating from high school, I reported for duty as a summertime relief reporter for the Moline Daily Dispatch, where I covered cops and robbers, city councils and school boards, births and deaths, train wrecks and bubble-gum contests at the city parks.
We asked some expert observers of the religion scene how they are navigating the new media. What do they read, watch and listen to? How have their reading, listening and viewing habits changed over the past decade?Here's Mark Silk: "I’ve always been a news junkie. I still take two dead-tree newspapers—the New York Times and the Hartford Courant. I look at the Washington Post every morning, and I listen to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered while driving to and from work. At work, I’m in thrall to the continuous news cycle. I check the AP wire on Yahoo as soon as I sit down at my desk, and then scan the general-interest blogs and blogzines—the Daily Dish, Politico, Talking Points Memo, Huffington Post, the Daily Beast."