Win? Free Press Unveils “MediaFail”

Besides reporting on news and entertainment (and the frequent melding of the two), the media revels in reporting on itself. Which is why it comes as little surprise that Free Press, a nonprofit media organization that, according to its mission statement, is “working to reform the media,” has launched a new site that is drumming up attention in media circles.

“MediaFail” allows visitors to vote on videos and articles in terms of “fails.” Currently on the site, for example, is a video titled “How To Save The World From Comcast,” which, as of posting, is rated at 20 fails:

Visitors can create account in order to submit an article or upload a video for consideration, and they can vote down a story by pressing a “Fail It!” button. The site’s “Most Failed” story right now is a Huffington Post article chronicling Fox News host Brit Hume’s attempts to minimize the environmental damage caused by the recent oil spill in the Gulf – Hume’s comments earned him a total of 338 fails.

So why did the Free Press create MediaFail? Per the site itself:

Every day, we read and watch “news” that favors sensation over substance. Meaningless sideshows can dominate the news cycle for days, blocking out real issues of public concern. Worse, what often passes for reporting is badly sourced, unaccountable and tainted by commercial interests and trivia.

It’s time to FAIL a failing media.

MediaFAIL is a user-powered project of Free Press that exposes the worst in American media. Just find a link, post it, fail it, and share it with friends. The top-rated submissions will migrate to the site’s front page for all the world to see.

We don’t just want to give the media a failing grade — we want it to pass. That’s why we’re featuring links to actions on important campaigns by Free Press and our allies, so that you can help build a better media system.

Josh Silver, Free Press’ president and chief executive, told the New York Times‘ Media Decoder that MediaFail was “by its nature, a form of media criticism,” but that its ultimate goal was to inspire users to rally around the standards and policies espoused by the Free Press.

What do you all think? Is this a good way of keeping media outlets in check? Have you used the site?