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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Monday, July 26, 2004

The Dems and those dirty diluting bloggers...

I can't say I was day and night waiting by the phone. Your humble blogger had no expectation of accreditation to the DNC - as being, well, far beneath the panjandrums' notice. Not to mention having said unkind things about the Party of Treason from time to time.

So I was hardly going to mention the presence of certain exalted blogthren swanning round the FleetCenter as I write, credentials flapping on their chests, hobnobbing with folks even I have heard of.

Until, that is, coming across a piece of pure bollocks from Tom Rosenstiel [1] in the Boston Globe today. I prefer to believe that TR is in reality some devious blogger having fun at Big Media's expense with a parody of the sort of self-serving sanctimony [2] one might expect from hot-metal dinosaurs.

He has a long wind-up before he gets to
So what constitutes journalism?

A journalist tries to tell the literal truth and get the facts right, does not pass along rumors, engages in verifying, and makes that verification process as transparent as possible.

A journalist's goal is to inspire public discussion, not to help one side win or lose. One who tries to do the latter is an activist.

If the guy had been a Globe journo, I'd have said: in the town of the Red Sox, you need a huge reserve of self-delusion to get by each summer. But, as it is...

He has another gem:
Journalism evolved out of the Enlightenment principally to help people govern themselves.

My recollection was that there were newspapers back towards the beginning of the 17th century; and plenty had come (and, mostly, gone) before the Enlightenment began. He implies journalism is something distinct from (and holier than) merely what journalists do [3]. Like if it bleeds, it leads, blind quotes from USG spokesmen, Britney's chugging 'booze' and all that jazz.

The kicker:
The quality of our journalism and our democracy, as Joseph Pulitzer noted nearly a century ago, will rise and fall together.

Plaster Saint Pulitzer [4] was the guy who, during the 1884 presidential election, ran a story in the New York World
without benefit of supporting evidence [that James G] Blaine was fatally ill with Bright's disease.

Democracy was in pretty bad at the time...

  1. Who he?
    Director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism and vice chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists
    Sounds like an all hat and no cattle job to me...

  2. Sometimes, I leave in the sophomoric alliteration!

  3. Herbert Morrison (Home Secretary in the Clement Attlee Labour government, not the guy who broadcast the Hindenburg disaster!) said
    socialism is what the Labour Government does
  4. A Jew can't be a plaster saint already?

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