Sunday, September 26, 2004

# Posted 7:41 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BRODER'S HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND: I thought I really liked where this column was heading:
We don't yet know who will win the 2004 election, but we know who has lost it. The American news media have been clobbered...

It is hard to overcome the sense that the professional practices and code of responsibility in journalism have suffered a body blow. After almost a half-century in this business, I certainly feel a sense of shame and embarrassment at our performance...

The common feature -- and the disturbing fact -- is that none of these
damaging failures would have occurred had senior journalists not been blind to the fact that the standards in their organizations were being fatally compromised.
And then somehow, Broder manages to blame the failure of his fellow journalists on the bloggers and the politicians:
As the path from the White House and political campaigns to the slots as TV anchor or interviewer or op-ed columnist or editor was trod by more and more people, the message to aspiring young journalists was clear. The way to the top of journalism was no longer to test yourself on police beats and city hall assignments, under the skeptical gaze of editors who demanded precision in writing and careful weighing of evidence. It was to make a reputation as a clever wordsmith, a feisty advocate, a belligerent or beguiling political personality, and then market yourself to the media...

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.
Wow. Let me repeat that: Wow. Is Broder really saying that bloggers helped create the atmosphere in which "old pros" like Rather and Raines decided to compromise their standards? I could swear that it was the "skeptical" and perhaps even "self-disciplined" bloggers who helped expose Rather's incompetence/prejudice.

Memo to all (self-)important journalists: You can insult us all you want and tell us that we don't belong to your profession (perhaps because most of us don't get paid.) But your accusations will become more and more pathetic if we keep exposing your failures, instead of vice versa.
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