« Home | Uwe won't Bollieve me » | I'm waiting... » | I can't believe he's out of our lives » | Transformerly interested » | I can only come back with this » | The Viral Virus » | Twitty twisted » | Yikes, Sykes! » | Oh, stop. No, seriously. Please. Stop. » | iPhonies »

That's the way it is

As a journalism major, I, like I believe any respectable journalism major should, hate journalism. It's drek. All of it. From Fox News to the Huffington Post, the once respected industry of journalism has become a never-ending quest for ratings and money, where partisan bickering passes for debate and the need to entertain has superseded the need to inform.

This is why I'm taking the death of Walter Cronkite so hard. I never saw him deliver the news, but I know full well his impact on journalism and how there will never be another journalist like him. That's not a condemnation of all journalists today, as I think many (Well, maybe not many.) would favor a return to Cronkite's days, when truth was held at a premium and before politics and corporations knew how to effectively manipulate the growing industry.

Anchors today cannot afford to have the courage Cronkite did, lest they be fired, but I'd at least like to see an effort. Author Glenn Greenwald wrote a fascinating piece for Salon.com, where he quoted Meet the Press's new anchor, David Gregory, defending today's journalistic practices...

"I think there are a lot of critics who think that [in the run-up to the Iraq War] . . . if we did not stand up and say this is bogus, and you're a liar, and why are you doing this, that we didn't do our job. I respectfully disagree. It's not our role."

Well, sort of.

A good journalist would not have simply said, "This is bogus" or "You're a liar," but a good journalist would have said, "Why are you doing this?" That's a little thing called "investigative reporting." And if, through the process of investigation, the journalist discovered a lie or uncovered something bogus, then it is their role, indeed their only role, to voice it. And this did happen eventually, but not during the run-up to Iraq, where the questions were most needed, only afterward, when they really didn't even fucking matter anymore. How many brave soldiers and innocent Iraqis died before you felt the need to do your job, Gregory?

The ABC News channel on YouTube posted a video honoring Walter Cronkite, and I'm not sure whether it's an anti-CBS statement or merely a reflection on the state of journalism today, but in the aforementioned video, Cronkite's famous Vietnam analysis is referred to as a "stunning break from journalistic objectivity." Bullshit.

After returning from Vietnam, Cronkite reported the facts. He said that when faced with the evidence, "it seems now more certain than ever, that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."
Whoever narrated the ABC News video clearly doesn't know what "journalistic objectivity" means.

If I'm on a pogo stick in the middle of a NASCAR track as a dozen cars come barreling down on top of me at 140 mph, it's not biased to report, "It seems now more certain than ever, that Alex is about to have one hell of a bloody experience." A stunning break from objectivity would be, "Jeff Gordon's in for a whole mess of trouble if he thinks he can stand up to the masterful pogo-sticking of that young man!"

Objective reporting doesn't mean the outcome has to be objective, it means that during the process of information gathering, you've not left one stone unturned that will help you make an educated, reasonable decision. Even a guy dumb enough to pogo-stick during a NASCAR race knows that.

1. I love your blog.
2. You are ridiculously smart.
3. I miss you mooching meals off me.

Post a Comment