Good reporting from a store?

Despite my concern about a Costco founder publicly supporting tax increases, then making a special December Costco dividend to avoid these higher taxes, I’d like to commend Costco’s member magazine, the Costco Connection, for setting an example of good journalism.

Costco members receive this publication each month. It mostly has information on products available at Costco, but there is a smattering of other content. One recurring piece is the Yes/No page.

Each month, the Costco Connection asks an issue-related question to which they publish the response from two “experts,” one supporting the answer Yes and the other supporting No. The Connection also includes three short sound bites from customers on each side of the debate.

That’s a model other publications can learn from. I often stop reading news articles because of how poorly the facts and opposing arguments are presented. Often there is no attempt to present the opposing argument. Other times, when opposing arguments are included, they are token attempts that misrepresent the actual arguments.

Consider the recent reporting about the fiscal cliff. What arguments for Republican resistance to raising the top income tax rate did your news source present? I heard inaccurate and inept reporting on both sides.

Liberals seemed to think that Republicans wanted to protect their wealthy buddies, or just didn’t want to compromise with Democrats or were beholden to the power wielded by puppet-master Grover Norquist (who?).

Even when a fairer presentation of the Republican resistance was presented, it seemed to come with editorial gestures, like eye-rolls, that made it clear that such intentions should not be trusted and you’d be stupid to believe it.

Why didn’t we see more of the style of reporting that I can only seem to find in the Costco Connection?

Why not present the arguments in as fair and clear a light as possible and let people decide for themselves?

Maybe the Costco Connection will cover this issue before it all comes up again very soon.

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4 thoughts on “Good reporting from a store?

  1. You’ve implicitly raised an economics question: Why don’t good journalistic practices (Costco) drive out poor journalistic practices in the marketplace? Seems like consumers of journalism value something other than accuracy and fairness.

    • Good point, Mark. I had the same thought as I was writing the post, but wondered if that’s true. Some products persist not necessarily because that’s what consumers are demanding, but because they are subsidized by other things that consumers are demanding. The folks who print stuff on Starbucks cups do well because folks are buying Starbucks coffee, not their paper cups.

      Could it be that a good portion of consumers of local news journalism tolerate poor journalism on politics because the journalism they provide on other topics like sports, weather, current and local events is decent?

      The classifieds subsidized print media’s editorials for decades. Craigslist removed that subsidy. The sports section in my local paper is now as thick or thicker than the local/nations events, features, politics and business sections combined. Perhaps sports journalism is subsidizing bad political journalism.

  2. Pingback: Editorials say a lot | Our Dinner Table

  3. Pingback: Should we raise the tax rate on wealthy people? | Our Dinner Table

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