Wednesday, July 29, 2009


With the death of Walter Cronkite, what is left of journalism? Lots of today's journalists grew up idolizing Cronkite, Woodward and Bernstein, but more of today's journalists look like Joseph Alsop than Cronkite.

A few supporting points to ponder:

Rupert Murdoch caught illegally hacking thousands of databases. Massive settlements being thrown around to hush things up.

Deadspin: The Real Reason You Should Hate The Media (And That Includes Us). From my experience, 27 percent of the people who work in media (and I'm using the Mediaite definition of media, which is pretty much "anyone who gets paid for typing, talking or figuring out how to fire people who type or talk") are journalists in the truest sense, out to enlighten the public for common good, altruistic believers in the fourth estate and its power to invoke change [NOTE- And I salute that valiant 27%.]. The other 73 percent are pretending to be that 27 percent and really just trying to promote their own personal brand. In the past, this has always been an inside joke, something for media folk to snicker about in private. Mediaite breaks with the pretense and just states what everyone already knew: This is really what it's all about. Check out "Power Grid" (a farce of a name if ever there was) for more vomit-worthy moments.

Dan Froomkin hired by Satan's Botoxed Handmaiden {H/T Kevin for the nickname}. Hired with MONEY?!?! Hmm... Bigger picture is Froomkin's real transgression in the eyes of the media: Indeed, nothing eliminates the possibility of establishment journalist jobs more quickly or decisively than criticizing the establishment media as being too sycophantic to political power, manipulated by the Right, and, in general, slothfully devoted to doing nothing other than uncritically repeating what "both sides" say . In the early 20th Century, the New York Times used to "balance" their reporting about lynchings with crimes that black people committed before the lynching.

Speaking of Satan's Handmaiden: FOX Business Vs. CNBC: Who's Hotter? (SLIDESHOW) FUCK YOU, ARIANNA!

And then, of course, there's the infamous Washington Post is a $2 whore scandal (and don't forget The Atlantic, too). The story was broken by Politico. Most painful detail for Washington Post: they got found out because a lobbyist thought it was too blatant. 'Journalists: less of a conscience than soulless lobbyists.'

So, how to fix it? Three ideas here:

1.) Adopt the Russian Business model.

2.) Close the Journalism Schools. Journalism is not a profession like engineering, medicine or even law. You can pick up most media skills on the job, or with a few hours of instruction. If you screw up, nobody dies, and nothing collapses. This is why so many — perhaps most — journalism pros have built successful careers without touching J-school, and why many of them considered a J-degree a dubious credential even in the field's heyday.

3.) Support good writing and beat bad journalists over the head with a lead pipe when they go out in public.

No comments: