A snippet from an excellent Buzzflash.com piece http://www.mwo1.com/mwo04.htm is provided below.
The gist of the article is particularly important when it comes to the environment. Today, the majority of Mainstream Media (aka corporate media) fail to understand and convey the real issues when it comes to the environment. Now that experienced professional journalists who took time to understand issues before writing on them are retired or retiring (e.g. Dave Poulson), the new crop of "journalists" in Michigan and throughout the nation are taking over and the result is not pretty.
Take a minute to look at the article (URL above) and then make it a point to know which "reporter" is writing those environmental articles. Look for patterns. Watch out for Press Release regurgitation. Be vigilent when evaluating who is being quoted and how those quotes are modified by placement within the article, descriptive adjectives added by the "reporter".
For good examples of the type of oversight that is necessary, take a look back at the EM postings from polluter attorneys and the response from informed citizens. You'll see the subtle shadings, parroted talking points and distorted/selective inclusion of information when making the case for factory farms or for relaxed pollution cleanup standards (all though none of the Engler fanatics dared to write in support of the now-dead DOW/DIOXIN deal).
When they are biased, let the reporter and the paper know what you think and provide evidence.
For a good example of Michigan media whorism, many of you will remember back in the early 90's when a pre-eminant environmental "journalist" wrote a story on a right-wing extremist's lawsuit against the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Riding a wave of militia movements and conservative "property rights" red-herrings, not only did the "journalist" take the contrarian viewpoint (since her writings were so often ignored due to low quality) to artificially create controversy, she also failed to include anything in the article from the NPS perspective. Biased? Yes. Media Whorish? Of Course. New? No way. Dangerous to democracy? Absolutely.
Finally, be aware that the corporate media will do what others do when their mis-deeds are exposed: They'll squirm and wiggle and justify their crayon scribblings by attacking you. They'll throw around terms like "balance" in order to bamboozle; they'll cry out that if both sides are complaining they must be doing something right. And they will label you as a troublemaker. Wear it as a badge of honor; its your identification card for NOT belonging to the Moron-American community!
"However, elections, particularly national elections, do not ultimately hinge on a mere battle of ideas. While policy is important to a majority of voters who do vote their pocketbooks and their conception of the national interest, an election cannot be won without appealing to the 10-20% of voters who are swayed not by the message but by tone and attitude of the candidates, as well as the general "images" of the parties. Gene Lyons recently referred to this important voting bloc as the "Moron-American community."
Al Gore won the 2000 election only by the slightest of margins, thanks to an Axis of Incompetence that developed over the last decade and now imposes a decisive influence on elections and has wreaked untold destruction on our democracy: the dangerous combination of incompetent voters whose decisions are shaped by an incompetent mainstream media.
Elitists believe Moron-Americans comprise a vast majority of voters - everyone with the exception of a small group to which they belong (of wealthy people or intellectuals, depending on one's ideological leanings). But in fact, most Americans, regardless of their social class or tendency toward intellectualism, are not morons. Moron-Americans represent a small segment of consistent voters from all walks of life. What they have in common is that they tend to lack strong beliefs, care little about facts, and are too lazy and/or hypnotized by the media to make the effort to consider how policies will affect the future. They cast their vote according to visceral emotional reactions - often exclusively to the candidate's outward personality (whether that personality is deemed "authentic" by M-As depends on whether it is identified as such for them by the media). While emotional concerns rightly play a part in most voters' decisions, a Moron-American's vote is absent any thorough, rational consideration."