The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, May 08, 2004

The lunacy of objective journalism in a nutshell

Having mentioned visual icon of the Vietnam War Kim Phuc a couple of pieces back, a verbal icon of the same War [1] springs to mind:
It became necessary to destroy the town in order to save it.

Catching up with the Daily Howler, I see a piece about a David Ignatius WaPopiece of April 27 on journalism's mistakes over 9/11 and Iraq.

On the latter, he quotes a couple of pre-war stories, from the New York Times and the Post, forecasting occupation problems based on USG and US military sources. Red flags he calls them which the media largely ignored.

His suggested reason:
In a sense, the media were victims of their own professionalism. Because there was little criticism of the war from prominent Democrats and foreign policy analysts, journalistic rules meant we shouldn't create a debate on our own...

The Howler is outraged, but not, I suspect, surprised. This, after all, is a pillar of the faith objective journalism in its most puritanical form.

As the saloon bar was to prohibition, so William Randolph Hearst's
You furnish the pictures, I'll furnish the war.
to the purs et durs of objective journalism, who figure their role as impartial recorders and authenticators of the nation's public business.

It's bollocks, of course, but that is the orthodoxy. And Chapeau! to the guy for stating it so baldly. (That an Ignatius should utter a jesuitical statement is, I suppose, perfectly fitting.)

  1. From that anonymous US officer about Ben Tre, of course.

    Is the quote kosher? From Mr Google, I see different formulations, different ranks for the officer... For another time.

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