Death of Journalism – In the end, it was us all along

In the end, it wasn’t the Internet, or televsion or even bad management that killed journalism; we did it to ourselves.

When I was in college, we held up the Bob Woodwards of the world as our mentors.  The story mattered above all else.  No matter who it was, it was the journalists job to expose corruption.  We were to be that shining light in dark places.

This election cycle has shown us the lie in that.  We’ve got supposed journalists falling all over each other to produce dubious “fact checks” based on a pyramid of half truths and deceptions carefully spoon fed by the campaigns.  The keyword now in politics is “control the narrative” and that means finding ways to get their version of the story out.

To be clear, as a journalist, you cannot spin a story.  Propagandists spin stories, PR flacks spin stories, journalist report.  We are meant to be that sharp probe stuck into sensitive areas.  Not some dull mouthpiece regurgitating the party line.

It’s not that it’s one side or the other that is the problem, it is that it have become utterly apparent to everyone that media has a side.  The right, Fox, and in opposition MSNBC. Too many issues have been left alone.  Far too many.

For example, how is it we have an ambassador killed in Libya, yet none find fault with our government.  To be clear, their “it was the video” mantra was an obvious fabrication. The truth, that it was a coordinated attack by terrorists, and even worse, that we had repeatedly denied requests for more security, and in fact, removed 34 security personnel over the previous 6 months, was concealed and only now comes to light.

Are there still bright points: to be certain.  One has only to look at the work done by Univision on the Fast and Furious scandal.  Another story most media shied away from for over a year. (I link to ABC News – their English language partner)

To be fair, I could just as easily link to instances of press ignoring CIA lies about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction etc.

The death of journalism comes when journalists look the other way.  When journalists give up.  When they become propagandists.

We cannot allow journalism to die.

One thought on “Death of Journalism – In the end, it was us all along

  1. I also came to the “profession” as part of the generation of journalists influenced by Woodward & Bernstein and was taught the principles of good reporting, of getting the details correct and fighting for objectivity. I’m also part of the journalism generation that saw the transition from print to digital, from typewriters to Atex, from media defined by scarcity (three networks, dead trees delivered by trucks) to do-it-yourself presses (blogs).

    I think you’re harping on an eternal problem — journalism has always carried a bias. Look at the press in Colonial America — every city had a paper affiliated with a political party, a publisher who was also an editor, etc.

    There is great reporting still surviving in this era of Murdochian phone tapping and TMZ driven celebrity news. It’s there, you have to find it, but good luck and let;s hope the next generation can do the same.

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