Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sad State

Dennis G at Balloon Juice comments on the latest right-wing tantrum and the media powers that indulge and enable them.

Journalism in our era is mostly pathetic.

If there is a bright spot, it is the new media and principles of reporting coming from blogs and the great unwashed freelancers of the world. Every now and then, somebody from these unwashed masses is hired by the “old guard” media—sometimes to a good end and sometimes to a bad one.

Journalism should be a thing alive that always questions motives, understanding, assumptions and the facts of the moment. It does not need to lapse in false standards of purity, impartiality, conventional wisdom and the mythology of ‘objectivity’. When these whims become rules that trump good reporting and writing then the powerful can use these ‘rules’ to purge voices they find ‘offensive.’

This is how a free press is controlled and silenced. The latest example was the firing of Dave Weigel over at the Washington Post for some statements in a private email listserve.

The WP Ombudsman put up an idiotic column about the incident. In this drivel, he argued that the lesson to be learned is that the WP was too mean to wingnuts. And so he defended the cowardly act of firing Weigel.

My how far the state of journalism has fallen.

Mr. Weigel’s firing is bothersome for more than just the fact that the release of his private e-mails hurt the feelings of some conservatives; we always knew that these bullies and poseurs were thin-skinned and would react with juvenile tantrums. What is really sad is that Mr. Weigel’s comments were not, for the most part, about people in power. They were about commentators and pundits on the right; Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich are talking heads, as are most of his targets. In other words, this whole flap is a schoolyard squabble over who gets to sit at the Kool Kidz table in the Beltway cafeteria.