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Even when the media reports on a critical issue, the media ignores it.

Last week, NBC Nightly News aired a series on our crumbling infrastructure called “Falling Apart.” (Check out the videos below, as well as my colleague Isaiah’s post on rebuilding America.)

Yesterday, the Washington Post front-paged a story about how squeezed state budgets are forcing prison to release prisoners early, which speaks not only to how the recession is impacting government services, but also raises questions about our approach to crime.

And speaking of crime, today the New York Times reports that we still have stark racial disparities in drug arrests and incarcerations, even though there are no disparities in drug use.

All high-profile media placement. Yet none of the above reports have sparked broad discussion of these issues throughout the media.

The punditocracy is much more interested in stoking racial divisions by obsessing over the words of pastor not running for public office, instead of exploring what needs to be done to eliminate racial disparities in our society.

NBC can do solid journalism for a few minutes on the Nightly News about the problem of crumbling infrastructure. But none of the stable of MSNBC’s pundits is given the opportunity to comment further and drive the national discussion about how the solve the problem, and no NBC political reporter presses candidates to tell the public what they would do.

Often when you take the media to task to cover a certain story, the response will be, “We did that!”

But media professionals know that’s a cop-out, because a single piece of journalism collects dust on the shelf without other members of media using that journalism to enrich the discourse.

And once again, good journalism will be wasted, and critical issues continue to be ignored.

Check out the “Falling Apart” series below.

April 28: U.S. infrastructure facing midlife crisis

April 29: Why America’s trains aren’t taking off

April 30: Power grid barely makes the grade

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