Via Atrios and TPM, this editorial by a journalism professor is a fine example of just what is wrong with the news media today. Because if a professor is teaching people what he's demonstrating in this editorial, the news media, as we all know, has some problems. I was suitably moved to write to the Times in response, and as The Offspring might say, "it came out sounding something like this."
That's a lovely paean to journalism, and a rather gratuitous and un-informed slap at bloggers Mr. Skube has written. For the record, I'm a blogger far down the list, but people might know my handle if they saw it. But not today.
Debate is going to save us? And too much information is a bad thing? I'm reading this in the LA Times, but discounting it as quickly as possible.
What nonsense. Given the near absolute secrecy of the Bush Administration, given the manufactured and empty debate that the news media is giving us for the past 30 years or so, you would think that a reporter might thank the bloggers for carrying on an actual debate of issues, he certainly isn't going to get it from the journalists of the news media, for the most part.
On today's politics page there's this: "Ah, those fickle Nevada Republicans" reporting on POLL Numbers, "Key is that since March, Romney has gained 24 points while Giuliani has dropped 20 points" and Oprahs Obama party instructions and something about the Supreme Court Justices and their "funny" robes, and a no doubt breathless piece on Fred Thompson's hometown getting ready to capitalize on his impending candidacy announcement.
I could go on, but do you see the debate there? Or you could go to Daily Kos and see debate on psychologists and torture, the real meaning of the Minnesota bridge collapse and the Utah mine disaster and some solutions, debates on student loans, NASA, Iraq, and of course all of the presidential candidates.
If you have paid the least bit of attention the past six years you would realize that the news media truly does need watchdogs. Reporters have been in turn uncritical of the GOP; cheerleaders and enablers of the Bush Administration; threatened, terrorized, and corporatized.
The abuses and failures at Walter Reed didn't just happen in 2005, yet until a blogger talked about it, nobody knew. If it weren't for bloggers asking questions about the firings of the United States Attorneys, we wouldn't even know about how Karl Rove has politicized the Cabinet Departments, how Gonzales tried to manipulate a sick John Ashcroft to sign off on what had been declared illegal wire-tapping, that they were decimating the ethics division of the Justice Department, and so on.
I quote here from your article, '"What democracy requires," Lasch wrote in "The Lost Art of Argument," "is vigorous public debate, not information. Of course, it needs information too, but the kind of information it needs can only be generated by debate.'
When all you get from the White House is countless legalistic variations of 'I don't remember,' 'That's under investigation so I can't tell you', 'Homeland Security,' and 'Executive Privilege,' there is no public debate. Except on the blogs, where, funny enough, the public debates. And sometimes that debate spills over into the physical world or the journalism world, and actually furthers the cause of a badly abused democracy.
And on an aside, could Mr Skube kindly either, a) identify who "Some" are who reject that label, or, b) stop using that dishonest and uninformative and meaningless argument. Last time I looked, "Some" could be anybody or any number of body's, and a professor of journalism ought to know that terminology has no business being in a piece of journalism, opinion or otherwise.