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October 24, 2008

"I Am Ashamed to Call Myself a Journalist"

Smoking hot. All worth reading, but I'll quote the end:

I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes . . .and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCainís. Thatís what reporters do, I was proud to have been one, and Iím still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why werenít those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you donít see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesnít; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay-out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where youíve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power . . . only to discover that youíre presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesnít have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance youíll lose your job before you cross that finish line, ten years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe -and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway - all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself: an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career. With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived Fairness Doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe, be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, itís all for the good of the country . . .

I think that's about right-- they've decided to burn the last drop of their credibility to vindicate their own personal politics.

People get into different forms of work for different reasons. It's not just money. And people attracted to journalism are, of course, bewitched primarily by the thought of changing the world.

Well, they're going all-in on this one.

As this reporter notes, however, the odds of Barack Obama having a successful presidency, even if elected, are quite a bit short of 50:50.

Bad bet.


Thanks to CJ.


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posted by Ace at 06:07 PM

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