The Mudville Gazette
This is Mudville Gazette Back-up Site

Sunday, April 13, 2003


Sometime during the 1960's a subtle shift in the perceived (in the perception of both the journalist and many segments of the public) purpose of the American media began. A shift away from 'reporting' as the main purpose of the journalist. Students in journalism schools unwittingly revealed this shift in emphasis as they increasingly stated "to make a difference" as the primary reason they were interested in the profession. This sounds noble at first, but consider the implication. The unspoken undertone is agenda driven reporting vs. reporting the facts.

Note that as yet I've made no reference to that agenda. Still, anyone reading this has already determined exactly what agenda I mean. I offer this as support to my theme; the existence of that agenda has become common knowledge in America today. While within the profession of the journalist it is accepted practice, so much so that they are no longer capable of recognizing it. They may acknowledge this transformation as something along the lines of "developing a social conscience" or a "shift away from being a mouthpiece for the powerful elite". Note that both descriptions seem to portray something noble and heroic. I believe this bogus nobility is the fundamental lie that enables all other transgressions of journalistic truth to occur.

The development over time of this "noblesse obligée" concept of journalistic operations has placed the political right and the media increasingly in positions of mutual suspicion and distrust. But another subtle shift in those positions might be occurring. The first sign of this shift may be "Bush at War" by Bob Woodward, one of those who defined the late-20th-century version of the "crusading journalist." (For you youngsters out there, Woodward was half of the team that brought down Nixon and established the dominant journalistic paradigm of the last thirty years.) As proof of that shift, I offer this review of the book from the left. Wow! When the left turns on you it's complete. One would gather they never liked Woodward after all!

And now, via World Magazine, I introduce you to Torie Clark, architect of the Embedded Journalist concept. One of the most brilliant strategies of the war - the simple truth!

Did any one else see the not-so-subtle difference between the reports from the embeds vs the roving (or static) reporters? I saw it on day one. The Embedded journalists knowing they were off with great heroes on an historical march, completely unable to hide the exuberance and human emotion. Did you catch Ted Koppel's observations of the initial "crossing of the berm" or Dave Bloom's (and yes this is tragic) enthusiastic reports from the northbound tank column on day one? Amazing. Now juxtapose that with the monotonous whining of so many of the unfortunates left behind. Jealousy mixed with a preconditioned anti-American mindset could be suppressed no more then the enthusiasm of their more intrepid counterparts.

Sure, they'll be dismissed as "lackeys" and "tools of Big Brother" by the ultra-left, but that's no surprise. (See Woodward above). But I propose that (strange as it may seem to some) the left was not prepared for the right to use the media as a method for telling the truth about he war. The left assumed they had the media in their pockets, as they pretty much have had for years, allegations to the contrary not withstanding. (Remember I am talking about people who insist that CNN has a "right wing bias" - see part one.)

So I suggest that the stage is set for journalistic conflict in the post war world the likes of which we have not seen for some time...

(More to come! I warned you I reserved the right to expand this! ;>)