April 08, 2009

Grab The Moguls

Like Atrios says, the interesting thing about Wapo journos publicly criticizing a WaPo climate change denialist is that they were allowed to do it. It's not really the crazy journos who are the problem, it's the billionaire media moguls who give them a space.

Similarly, questions should be asked about why the NYT allowed this crap to be published, and why they didn't disclose the author's identity, and why they still think it's not a big deal.

I notice that the French people overwhelming support "sequestration", or the seizing of bosses during labor disputes. Wonder if the fad will catch on in the US media business one day?


Bukko_in_Australia said...

That's also on par with the WaPoo's publishing of op-eds by Dick Cheney's daughter (the straight one) without noting explicitly that she's the spawn of the torture-master.

Does this hack-assery put into perspective the silly errors of Teh Oz? (I make no excuses for the more gutter Murdoch press, since no one expects them to have higher standards that a British "tits-on-page-6" tabloid.) Do you think a "quality" Australian paper would be suitably embarrassed to do crap like the flagship American papers did?

As for journos "sequestering" their bosses (is that like sequestering CO2?) don't count on it. Even when I was in the biz, back before newspapers were as corporatised as they are now (they were well on the way, though) news reporters weren't the scrappy types depicted in "The Front Page" or "All the President's Men." There were rowdy, sarcastic cynics like me and the crowd I socialised with, but most were gray nebbishes content with regurgitating what the official line was. And that was two decades back, in the time when reporters weren't mortally afraid for their jobs.

When they're sacked, and their papers are closed, you can expect them to clean out their desks quietly and shuffle off under the gaze of sceurity guards who are watching to make sure they don't steal the staplers. The sacked journos might make some ironic jokes on the way out, but that will be all.

It's reasons like that that my angry side says "F@ck newspapers -- let them all go under, for all the failures they had to do their real job." But I've been sour that way ever since I was rousted out of my chosen career. It all turned out for the better, but I'm still sore.

G. said...

But nowadays everybody is working for the man, Bukko.

It's a cultural shift, innit?

Them olden days journos thought they was Well Hard, but once they got their stock portfolios it was another story.

It's all I, Me, Mine these days.

G. said...

I should address your legitimate grievances. Here's what goes through MY head...

Why not just go out and dig up the story? Nobody else is doing it, the story is worth $10 billion at least, why not go write it up yourself?

Of course, the problem is: who's gonna publish it?

I mean, look at this blog. It's all here. Who wants to know?


Or that cynicism what's really killing us all? I don't know. I don't pretend to have all the answers any more. Once I thought that The Truth was good enough... :-(

Bukko_in_Australia said...

Why not just go out and dig up the story? Nobody else is doing it, the story is worth $10 billion at least, why not go write it up yourself?

Of course, the problem is: who's gonna publish it?

You've hit it on the head. When I finally got sacked out of my newspaper career and would whinge about how I loved being a journalist, people would ask me "Why don't you become a freelancer?" As you noted, the key is to get someone to part with money for the words provided.

How do they know that the writer is credible, and not a liar? (The liar positions are reserved for official staff employees like Jayson Blair!) If something's important enough to be written about, why can't they have one of their own people do it for cheap? And as you've noted with some of the more recent links, there's not even enough money tosustain the current business model of having staff writers fill the pages. (Although I just had a thought -- perhaps the new way will be to have EVERYTHING in the paper done by piecework independent contractors! No reporting staff, just someone to rewrite press releases and lay out pages. Quick -- get on your Bat-phone to Rupes...)

At the time I gave up on reporting, I was living in a rural area of Florida -- not much call from the small publications there for words-by-the-inch. To labour for bigger publications, one must have connections there. I was never good at networking -- I was the dogged loner in search of truth, justice and the American way. I didn't want to be too chummy with other journos, because I regarded them as the competition.

Anyway, it's all f@cked. All I care about now is trying to discern which way the truth is blowing, so I can take shelter from the flying debris.

G. said...

The other problem is that - even if you do go out and get the story yourself - the kind of story you're talking about it NOT the kind that guys like Rupert want to publish.

"What? You've got proof that Wall Street is one big ponzi scheme? Really? Well, I hope you check the brakes on your car, wouldn't want anything nasty to happen to a nice kid like you. Now get out of my office."


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