Free Press announced the site in a press release May 20. In the release, Free Press wrote that the site was created to show bad media issues like weak reporting, flawed analysis and badly sourced articles.
Media Decoder noted that most users so far “just vote” on articles on the site, but that they can add links, leave comments or add new media fails. With 338 fails, most-failed as of May 24 at 2 PM EST was a story about Fox News host Brit Hume wondering “where is the oil?”
Media Decoder reported that Free Press’ president, Josh Silver, said the site is a way to “use the Web to crowd-source the collection of media failures — on TV, radio and print — from across the nation to show the lack of substance and relevance in U.S. commercial news.” In the press release, online campaign manager for Free Press, Josh Levy, said that MediaFail wasn’t created only to spotlight bad media work, but also to hopefully improve the media.
According to MediaFail’s Web site, the best-rated posts are shown on the front page of the site.
However, The Village Voice wrote May 24 concerned if the site is “slightly doomed for failure.” The Village Voice wrote that its concern is that the site could end up just showing individual biases or that it could be a puppet for media companies.
Village Voice wrote that current fail posts are “pretty typical stuff” but that “the composite that is bound to emerge, however, is likely to be no different than any other basic, wide-net argument about how the media ‘fails’ Americans and the world at large: Fox News sucks, The New York Times is full of s***, everyone else is just wrong or crazy, etc, etc.”
MediaFail is only a week old, though, so only time will tell how the site will be used.
Free Press describes itself as a “national, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to reform the media” launched in 2002 by Robert W. McChesney, John Nichols and Josh Silver.