Saturday, February 12, 2005


What is the True Purpose of Journalists?

Larry Kudlow on Eason Jordan, CNN, and the Blogosphere on National Review Online: "To recap, at last month�s economic forum in Davos, Switzerland, Jordan publicly accused the U.S. military of deliberately targeting journalists in order to assassinate them. "

I am a big fan of Kudlow's, but he cites the blogosphere as "doing its duty" by putting pressure on CNN after Jordan's ignorant comments. His comments are really the stuff of conspiracy theorists, quacks and outsiders. There is even a bit of mad hubris involved. Think of this. The US is fighting terrorists and trying to take down a regime, but yet they are taking time out to target journalists. While I truly believe that the military can chew gum and walk at the same time, I also think they had much bigger fish to fry than this news network while fighting a war. But as far as the blogosphere doing its job, I say we may have gone a bit far. Journalists have a "it's our job to keep public figures honest" line that they all go by. You hear them all of the time. The problem, however, is that I am not so sure I like that. They also consistently scream that they must put stories in context. I am not so sure I like that either. The talk shows are built for that sort of thing, but I would like news stories to just report the news and for the reader to put it into their own context. Journalists believe that readers don't have the capacity to understand the news. While it is true that some don't, it is hubris to think that they should spell it out for all readers. It also opens the door wide open for partisan spin. Partisan spin isn't just about politics either. It could also refer to their beliefs of right and wrong, what is/is not, should, should not be, acceptable, etc. Journalists love this, because it gives them the opportunity to help shape American culture, but their original job, as I understand it, is merely to report happenings. Shaping American culture and reader's thoughts about those happenings goes way beyond their original purpose. In fact, I think Kudlow would normally agree with this sentiment, but, because he agrees with the bloggers, he is not going to say so now. With the recent upheaval in news, this may be the perfect time for us all to consider how we get and ingest the news going forward.

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