Friday, March 12, 2010

Whatever became of journalism?

Former NYTimes Ex Ed Howell Raines (in, of all places, the Washington Post) on the nature of Fox News and the failure of "real" news sources to challenge the lies and phony narrative:
[Fox] has sold a falsified image of the professional standards that developed in American newsrooms and university journalism departments in the last half of the 20th century.

Whatever its shortcomings, journalism under those standards aspired to produce an honest account of social, economic and political events. It bore witness to a world of dynamic change, as opposed to the world of Foxian reality, whose actors are brought on camera to illustrate a preconceived universe as rigid as that of medieval morality. Now, it is precisely our long-held norms that cripple our ability to confront Fox's journalism of perpetual assault. I'm confident that many old-schoolers are too principled to appear on the network, choosing silence over being used; when Fox does trot out a house liberal as a punching bag, the result is a parody of reasoned news formats.

My great fear, however, is that some journalists of my generation who once prided themselves on blowing whistles and afflicting the comfortable have also been intimidated by Fox's financial power and expanding audience, as well as [Roger] Ailes's proven willingness to dismantle the reputation of anyone who crosses him.
I write "of all places" re: the WaPo not just because it was the Times' biggest rival during Raines' tenure but because it is one of the primary failed entities he is citing, it's opinion pages more and more a neocon fantasy land and its political coverage either pure he said/she said or silly simpering over the latest distraction.

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