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Sarah Palin and Jon Stewart agree on this: News media are bad influence

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On the one hand, the flurry of criticism aimed at the media is indeed an exercise in shooting the messenger, says Steffen Schmidt, an Iowa State University political scientist. The media are full of depressing, difficult stories that people don’t understand or know how to tackle, he says, from Afghanistan to the financial breakdown.

“In ancient times, when a runner came back from the front with bad news about how the war was going, it was so much easier for the king to pull out his sword and cut off his head,” he says. In some fundamental ways, the media's obligation to keep hard news before the public's view is neither appreciated nor valued, he adds.

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