There was a day, I think back when the dinosaurs were still alive, when journalism schools taught their students about asking hard questions and the importance of being the public’s watchdog against all-too-often-corrupt government.
Woodward and Bernstein were held up as examples, but also people like Edward R. Murrow, Edna Buchanan, Jack Reed and William Marimow, journalists who were smart and tough enough to pin down the politicians and bureaucrats and hammer them until they gave up the information the public needed.
Journalistic role models were typically old guys and gals who had risen through the ranks of crime and government reporters to finally earn that esteemed title of editor, men and women who had devoted their lives to finding the truth, who weren’t afraid to take a phone call from the Secretary of State and demand “what the —- does the president think he’s doing?”
Those journalists, if they ever truly existed as a breed rather than unique individuals, are long gone. What we have now is a cadre of go-along types who mostly regurgitate whatever pablum is doled out by the local government press office.
The old saw about “accuracy, accuracy, accuracy” has been replaced by “lie three times and we’ll say it’s true.”
It’s much easier to just rewrite the press release and file your story. Save the real investigations for the interesting topics, like baby hippo twins born at the zoo.
Case in point, President Obama’s recent million-dollar fantasy golf weekend where he got to play against Tiger Woods. The Washington press corps was incensed at not having access to the president — so much so that they issued a statement of protest saying they would continue to demand “tranparency” from the Administration.
When they finally got a chance to ask the president a question after he’d blown a million taxpayer dollars on yet another vacation, during a time when the government is raising taxes and running huge deficits because it can’t live within a budget, the press members all clamored to know … did the president beat Tiger?
So much for asking tough questions and ensuring transparency. …
Compare the press corps’ outrage over the Tiger blackout to its utter lack of interest in the dearth of information about the September 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead. “Meet the Press” host David Gregory summed up the media’s attitude best: “Cover-up of what?”
“Transparency” on Benghazi doesn’t exist, and the media couldn’t care less so long as they get to cover the president’s round of golf, which mostly entails the press corps hanging around the clubhouse ordering daiquiris on their news outlet’s dime.
The majority of today’s journalists are lazy, sycophantic and dishonest about the job they are doing.
We need to find a real-life Perry White if we’re ever going to hold the government accountable.