The original central mission of "Meet the Press" is "to learn as much as you can about your guests and his or her position on the issues and then take the other side, and do that in a persistent and civil way."
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the program and Tim Russert is still going strong. In an interview with John Elsasser, Editor in Chief of PR Tactics, Russert states that "the most important people on the set are the guests." He sees his job as that to elicit the views from the political guest, so voters can make an intelligent decision -- which is in stark contrast to much of what we see on cable, hear on talk radio or read on blogs, where people, according to Russert, focus more on offering their opinions rather than seeking opinions.
That may be the single reason why "Meet the Press" and other like-formatted programs are still impressive. Yet, people being tired of the spin is one of the reasons why blogs have become such a destination for readers. With blogs, there is a quality of voice that goes to unvarnished presentation of reality and that is really attractive. It comes through with the humanity of the person writing.
Russerts says that part of his role is making sure that people see if what is being suggested, offered or promised ends up adding up in dollars and common sense. That is probably why he is considered one of today's most recognized and trusted journalists. If you're interested in seeing him speak, he will be the keynote at this year's PRSA International conference in Philadelphia, October 20-23.
Maybe with the proliferation of blogs there's enough variety out there to warrant caution on opinion-heavy and facts/research-light. As far as online news goes, McKinsey & Company just published an analysis that noted the wild fragmentation of audiences (for an abstract link here). The payoff? Most respondents base their choice of news sources on convenience, comprehensiveness, or timeliness, not quality. [tip of the hat to Bruno Giussani at Lunch Over IP]
What is the main reason that prompts you to read a blog vs. a news media outlet?