Journalism 101

My brother has an article up at Nieman Watchdog entitled How the press can prevent another Iraq. It's nothing more than a reminder of basic journalism: don't believe everything a government official tells you; ask for proof. Use common sense.

It's absolutely amazing that any of this needs to be said to professionals. We knew this kind of stuff when we were high school journalists.

And yet, it does need to be said, because for some reason most reporters these days don't do their jobs.

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7 Responses to Journalism 101

  1. The Libby trial has been really interesting in seeing how the war-mongering (and I use the term advisedly) process all works, in terms of how an Administration plays the press.

    The problem is that the *rewards* for the reporters are very strongly oriented towards being mouthpieces rather than tough-minded skeptics. While saying that is a common sentiment, what’s come out in the Libby trial shows it’s quite true. Play along, you get access. Don’t go along, you get attacked.

    There’s no *career* *incentive* to be right – at least in the short term. Sadly, saying people should try to get it right, doesn’t help much. :-(.

  2. anon says:

    Could you clarify the difference between “journalism” and “editorial”? At cocktail parties conservatives argue that the liberal media editorializes rather than reports. Now I see you want the media to “prevent” wars. So I need to be able to respond to the folks that say liberals distort news to their own agenda.

    Its not like the media can just give us facts and analysis. How silly would that be if we let the dumb conservatives think for themselves!?


  3. Case in point by “anon” – stenography is SAFE. Anything else is fodder for attack by the Noise Machine.

  4. Mojo says:

    Anon, you’re not even trying any more. The post stated that reporters should investigate claims thoroughly rather than simply repeating whatever they’re told. In other words, reporters should report all the facts. But simply reporting the “fact” that so-and-so said this and whatsisname said something else doesn’t help anybody figure things out for themselves.

  5. anon says:

    I get it Mojo, wink wink. I know journalists have the training and enlightenment to do what’s right. We can’t have another failure like we did in ’04. This time the media must do everything it can to convince the people to vote democratic. I think what you’re saying we need to just give the sheeple the right facts. Michael can’t do it all alone.

  6. Mojo says:

    anon; How did you catch us? Despite the fact that neither Michael’s original post nor my comment said anything other than that we felt that journalists should dig for the actual facts and peform effective analysis on the information they have rather than simply quoting whatever they’re told, you managed to see through us. Yes, although our point was in complete agreement with your belief that the media should “just give us facts and analysis”, you weren’t fooled and unerringly divined that we are actually members of a secret cabal attempting to thwart the will of the people through some sort of mental judo. And how did you discover our secret name for the public – “sheeple”? We have managed to never use that term in our entire lives yet you figured out that we really thought it deep in our black hearts. Well, you’re just too clever for us. I guess we’ll have to give up our plans for world domination. You must be really smart and brave and good looking and not at all an idiot.

  7. LACJ says:

    Perish the thought.

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