Wednesday, February 21, 2007


It's Not Our Job To Upset People

Ladies and gentlemen, Richard Wolffe, Newsweek White House correspondent and ostensible defender of liberty, on bloggers:

“They want us to play a role that isn’t really our role. Our role is to ask questions and get information. … It’s not a chance for the opposition to take on the government and grill them to a point where they throw their hands up and surrender. … It’s not a political exercise, it’s a journalistic exercise. And I think often the blogs are looking for us to be political advocates more than journalistic ones.”

That's all journalism is, apparently: the art of "ask[ing] questions and get[ting] information." After all, I'm sure when Woodward and Bernstein covered Watergate, their goal was just to get the opinion from the White House, put it up against Deep Throat's, then go to print.

Jesus. Tapdancing. Christ. "Our role is to ask questions and get information"? Your job is to find the truth. Your job is to pursue any hint of wrongdoing in hopes of finding the worm in the apple. Your job is to bring any lying, corrupt bastard, Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, to their knees. Your job is to tell us what is truth and what is lies.

Your job is not to repeat what is given to you. Your job is not to trust the man who has lead us into one meaningless war when he says he has evidence that might point us towards another. Your job is not to comply to the whims of those in power to the degree that I'm surprised Nellie Bly, Katherine Graham, Joseph Pulitzer, and Benjamin Franklin haven't risen from the grave and unleashed their dreadful zombie powers on an insufficient press corps.

And when you stand there, having sucked on Tony Snow's tit, and tell us, the bloggers, that we don't know how it works, we don't have any experience... well, we have plenty of experience, Mr. Wolffe. Maybe not as professional esteemed journalists, but as Americans. We've seen bullshit passed off as truth, we've seen answers go unquestioned, we've seen utter jackasses treated as reasonable figures of authority, and we have had enough.

There is something wrong with the modern discourse today, Mr. Wolffe. Question is, are you sure you're not responsible for it?

My degree is in journalism, and I worked in the field for years before I had ever even HEARD of blogging, much less started doing it myself.

Let's just say the reasons I got out of journalism are legion. You would not BELIEVE the shit my publishers told me to write/do. It's not about truth, it's about MONEY, and that's ALL it's about. Or that was my experience, anyway.

While I mostly agree with your assessment of what journalism SHOULD be, that is NOT what they're teaching in journalism school. Or it wasn't when I was there. And, you know, therein lies the problem.
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