A worthwhile article from Annenberg’s Online Journalism Review on the internet’s effect on media criticism includes this apt remark by William Powers, media critic for the National Journal:
Media critics all do the job so differently that I honestly don’t think of us as competitors. Some operate more as reporters, some as pundits, some as ideo-warriors, some as gossips, some as pure ranters. It’s like we’re a bunch of musicians reading the same sheet of music, the media, but interpreting it with different instruments and in radically different styles.
As members of that orchestra, it’s about time we at BackSpin define our instrument. Look for something more polished on our “About” page sometime soon, but for the time being here’s the skinny on this relatively new blog: BackSpin is an outgrowth of HonestReporting.com, the leading monitor of anti-Israel bias in world media, with over 60,000 subscribers. HonestReporting releases 1-2 email articles a week and encourages activism to promote fair reporting. BackSpin aims to address topics that don’t make their way into those HR articles, and supplement the articles themselves with additional information that emerges after they’re published.
So our focus is the Mideast conflict between Israel and the Palestinians (not that other one happening a few hundred miles to the East), and our overarching concern will remain the fair portrayal of Israel in world media. We believe there exists a chronic and near-ubiquitous problem of anti-Israel media bias, and that that bias is both morally wrong and deleterious to the welfare of the state of Israel. Since one of the key problems is a lack of presentation of the full context of the conflict, we occasionally present backgrounders that go beyond critiquing particular news articles to explore under-reported aspects of the conflict (like Arafat’s corruption). BackSpin is an additional forum for this background info.
BackSpin is anchored to HonestReporting, but we’ll take advantage of the blog form to sail around a bit. (That’s a musical and nautical metaphor in one posting.) Please comment often, and send us your feedback on this blog’s contents regularly.