DATE: 1/05/2005 10:29:00 AM
Must-Read of the Day - Powerline dissects a piece in Columbia Journalism Review about the Rathergate affair. The article is more of an apologia for Dan Rather and CBS than any sort of serious attempt to understand what happened after "60 Minutes" ran a story about Bush's National Guard service based on fraudulent documents. Powerline calls this the "journalism in decline." I would argue the profession of journalism has been in decline much longer.
When I was in college, I worked at the student newspaper. While there, I worked with people who are now journalists for local and regional media outlets. Presumably, they will move up in their chosen profession. Most of them are good journalists, but a few are ideologues with an axe to grind. One day, I was in the office when one of the editors was looking at a paid insert scheduled to go into the next day's paper. It was a pro-life brochure, paid for by a local right-to-life committee. The editor said to me, 'you know, if I could, I would pull this f***ing thing out of the paper and refund the money.'
I was once pressured to attend a "community meeting" that turned out to be a Democrat fundraiser. I refused to file a story, and was reprimanded by a different editor. When I became an editor myself and began writing editorials from a conservative viewpoint, I was subjected to some truly enjoyable (for me) hate mail and some angry comments from co-workers. I'm glad the blogosphere exists now to act as a watchdog on the media, having seen some of the people who are now climbing its ranks.