Journalists writing about journalism: a guaranteed stupid fest every time!
Ben Bradlee, who edited the Washington Post in the years when a renegade political appointee at the FBI named Mark Felt blew the whistle on psychopath Richard Nixon, is dead. Because Felt chose Bob Woodward as the vehicle for his whistleblowing, Bradlee's death is, apparently, a big deal.
From the Daily Intelligencer Blog at NY Mag: Journalists Remember Bradlee As A Genius Leader (emphasis mine):
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein:
Ben was a true friend and genius leader in journalism. He forever altered our business. His one unbending principle was the quest for the truth and the necessity of that pursuit. He had the courage of an army. Ben had an intuitive understanding of the history of our profession, its formative impact on him and all of us. But he was utterly liberated from that. He was an original who charted his own course. We loved him deeply, and he will never be forgotten or replaced in our lives.
Gwen Ifill, Bob Woodward, and Nicholas Kristof in the same article about journalism? It must be an article about how useless it is, populated by morons such as these, right?
No, it's all in praise of Mark Felt, the Deputy Director of the FBI who became known as "Deep Throat" thanks to the careful stenography of the Washington Post?
Actually, there is a kernel of praise in their for what Ben Bradlee was actually responsible for. Jill Abramson points out that he doubled the circulation of the Washington Post. Seeing as it's a for profit enterprise, that's genuine praise for a job actually well done. If the press stopped claiming to represent "true, honest reporting" and simply tried to sell newspapers, we'd be in a much better world today.
In the early days of the Republic, newspapers reported that the Secretary of the Treasury slept with his sister-in-law and that the President of the United States had literally committed treason, colluding with the British in the terms of the Jay Treaty. Sounds like Fox News, right? The difference is that, back then, everybody knew that newspapers were in the business of selling newspapers. Today, the same lies on Fox News are deadly serious because we believe that the job of "the news" is "the quest for the truth".
In reality, the quality of our news is exactly the same. What has changed is that today, we believe the news and therefore give it the power to kill, which it now routinely abuses (see, Iraq War, etc.).