Wednesday, September 29, 2004

HELPING THE MEDIA FIND THEIR WAY

In reply to David Broder's column "The Media, Losing Their Way" in the Washington Post ...

Perhaps what is wrong with the media is exactly what we "journalists who had[have] no allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional news gathering" have been saying it is...

Mainstream Media is so out of touch with Mainstream America that it doesn't even recognize truth any longer.

Perhaps "professional news gathers" have become so insulated among other 'like' thinkers that they have turned into a horde of news spinners who are so totally out-of-touch with the truth that they can't help spinning even when writing about ethical journalism (a perfect example of a modern oxymoron if I ever heard one.)

The inherent bias of the news-spinners is so ingrained that they probably do not even recognize it anymore. An excellent example is in this column by Mr. Broder.

At the beginning he states that during a year of so many problems the news organizations have been diverted into chasing "sham events" such as "a scurrilous and largely inaccurate attack on the Vietnam service of John Kerry and a forged document charging President Bush with disobeying an order for an Air National Guard physical."

First thing I noticed was that he used the highly descriptive terms scurrilous and largely inaccurate (better than calling them liars I suppose) when condemning those that question John Kerry's Vietnam service (you did know he was in Vietnam right?) ... Oh, but excuse me... Against Kerry it was an attack in contrast to the forged document that was making a charge against President Bush.

Do you see the subtle (or perhaps not so subtle) difference?

I think Broder was right on when he saw a problem with hiring politic wonks as journalists (not hard to spot a certain conflict of interest when you consider that two of CNN's so called political commentators are also working for John Kerry's re-election, officially that is.)

I really can't quite grasp Mr. Broder's reasoning when he opines that the downfall of some of journalism's old pros (like Rather) was due to the "fevered atmosphere" caused by the bloggers... How in the world can he blame Rather's blatant attempt to affect the outcome of this election on the Internet?



"When the Internet opened the door to scores of "journalists" who had no
allegiance at all to the skeptical and self-disciplined ethic of professional
news gathering, the bars were already down in many old-line media organizations. That is how it happened that old pros such as Dan Rather and former New York Times editor Howell Raines got caught up in this fevered atmosphere and let their standards slip."


Perhaps Mr. Broder would have better demonstrated the old-style of ethical journalism if he had done some research and learned a bit more about the unique and incredible efficiency of the Internet grapevine or (blogline.) Many 'old style' journalists have become quite amazed and even enamored with this raw, hard-hitting, virtually instantaneous type of news reporting.

It's true that anyone with a computer, Internet access and the time can put absolutely anything on the Net they wish... It is the wildest, most free-wheeling, fascinating and purest exercise of free speech this world has ever seen. But, if Mr. Broder had done some of that 'old-style' investigative journalism... He would have discovered that crack-pot claims are rapidly debunked in the blog world.

Bloggers, for the most part, are very respectful and demanding of the truth. Websites and blogs with a reputation for spouting lies or spewing hate are widely spurned by all serious bloggers and Net News Junkies. Bloggers typically demand a source, proof and/or qualification for every post that contains facts or claims and you can count on them being substantiated or discredited with even more speed and accuracy than they were passed around.

Another thing different about the 'non-allegianced' journalists on the Net... Those who pass around garbage will end up with the reputation as a unreliable, untrustworthy and non-sited source within days or weeks... As opposed to the mainstream media's News Gathering Professionals who have kept the blatantly, ax-grinding Dan Rather as one of their elites for many years.

Mr. Broder also claims that, once upon a time, some group like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth with their "implausible" charges would be subjected to a hard-nosed reporter asking them the tough questions like "Who the hell are you guys? What's your angle? What's your proof?"

I agree, Mr. Broder! Why did you just ASSUME that the charges were inaccurate? ... And just what made you think their charges were implausible? Because Kerry said they were or because you didn't WANT to believe them? And since no hard-nosed reporters have tried to uncover the truth behind the charges by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth... Why didn't you?

And just for the heck of it, Mr. Broder, I would like to know why you would classify the charges by the veterans as implausible, scurrilous and inaccurate... But you call the charges from a purportedly forged document explosive?

As far as your question... "We've wandered a long way from safe ground in the news business. Sometimes I wonder if we can find our way back?" Let me answer that for you... You probably could find your way back to the truth, but you probably won't.

Perhaps there will be a few "professional news gatherers" that will actually leave the news business safe ground and risk their reputations, peer standing and jobs to join with us "journalists with no allegiance" in an exciting and exacting exploration for truth.

Something that, sadly, the mainstream media sacrificed many long years ago in exchange for the preservation, security and safety of their elitist status quo.

You have a right to your own opinions - You do not have a right to your own facts!