The Death (by Inches) of Journalism

I have rarely read anything I’ve hated to have to agree with more, but Marty Kaplan accurately describes the current situation in big-time journalism.
Since most of us who are in journalism aren’t there, the question becomes (at least in part), what do I aspire for now? How do I make a living doing what I love without selling my soul to the point that I no longer love it? Can I continue to do this in light of the tarnish these idiots have put on my profession, avocation, whatever?
Why isn’t Woodruff isn’t joining Miller on the unemployment line? Even more so and even quicker, since he’s an icon. She was, in many ways, a product of favoritism much like Jayson Blair (and for a similar reason, too; except in her case, it was “see, we do have conservatives” instead of “see, we do have minorities’) and her statements as to her perception of her job clearly illustrate her bankruptcy as a journalist. He is, along with Carl Bernstein, the reason many of us got into this business, someone who spoke truth to power and blew the bastard’s damned kneecap off. (Bonus points for those recognizing the second reference.) But when the leaders transgress, is it not worse than when the flock does? Aren’t they supposed to be somehow elevated, held to a higher standard? (Please don’t give me any of the oversimplified democracy crap about how we’re all equal unless you’re willing to support election to public office by random means; I’m ambivalent and unsure if it would be that much worse.)
If you care at all about journalism and democracy, do something. (I’m writing this, for starters.) Push your paper, station, whatever to cover this, not just repeat the RNC talking points released into the magical media echo chamber. Write something yourself, and send it in. Call, write, fax, moon your representatives and senators, anything to get the message across. (Note: message mooning tends to require the assistance of another person for legibility. Caveat exposor.) Shake the hell out of the next person who says “they’re all corrupt”–if we run the corrupt ones out of town on a rail, tarred and feathered, other corrupt ones will be less likely to try and take up residence in the capital. Same thing for the next person who pillories the entire media–there are still some who can read, think and report,, like Keith Olbermann and the K-R DC Bureau. Even Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are worth more to a functioning democracy than a thousand Millers and Woodruffs.

Marty Kaplan
11.17.2005
Journalism: R.I.P.

Mainstream journalism has cancer. The diagnosis – stage three, terminal – was made this week, by anyone with eyes to see.

Before now, the symptoms were alarming, but there was still hope. Fox’s “liberal media” lie; the reduction of all debates to polarized left/right shouting matches; the triumph of infotainment and missing-white-women-as-news over information we actually need to know; the substitution of he-said/she-said for shoe-leather and fact-finding; the social coziness of reporters and sources; the bottom-line obsession; the consolidation of power in fewer and fewer owners’ hands’ the politicization of public broadcasting – these, and more, were tumors, but their fatal metastasizing was not inevitable.

But the coverage of the battle between the White House and the Democrats over the use of prewar intelligence, and the reporting on l’affaire Woodward, is the end of the road for the mandarin gatekeepers.

Read the rest at the Huffington Post