Thursday, October 30, 2008

Media Bias... Or Why I Love Blogs

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

Yeah, well here’s my advice on that point, Mike. Call yourself a reporter, an editor, a columnist, a commentator, whatever it is you actually do. “Journalist” is a bogus word for people who are trying to make it sound like this wretched business is something exalted, something professional, something that requires arcane, secret knowledge hard come by. All things it never was, as amply demonstrated on a regular basis by some of the best in the business working at some of the finest publications in the nation. Yes, there are some skills, knacks and tricks of the trade. It helps to be familiar with stuff like … your subject matter … the English language … telephones and computers. There are some hard lessons. Some people learn them. And some people are better at it than others. But bloggers, untrained, in a couple of years have shown that millions upon millions of dollars have been wasted in this country on journalism degrees.

I generally prefer “newspaperman” or “editor,” by the way. That is what I am, and I am not embarrassed to be one, no matter what any of the others are doing. Previously, it was “reporter.” It was fun being one, and people found it fascinating. I liked telling my reporter stories, and people liked hearing them. “Tabloid reporter,” even better. I have never been ashamed of that. It’s like eating garlic. If people have a problem with it, do you really want to talk to them, and anyway, it just makes it that much more fun to stink up the mutual airspace with your existence. It’s more fun than being a plain old “reporter,” often a lot more intense, and every bit as important to the people you write for … most but not all of them the working people of this country. The cops, the cabbies, the commuters, construction workers and not a few professionals who can’t stomach the local broadsheet’s lefty tripe anymore. Scribbling for a tabloid, you are also required to bullshit less.

You gotta love this guy! Read it all here.

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