Speaking Government-Funded Truth to Government-Funded Power

Sure, everybody thinks they like journalism. But my guess is that what they really like is the moviefied, Redfordized myth of journalism: the arch newsroom chatter, the fedoras, the natty corduroy coats, the curmudgeonly editors and stacks of notebooks scrawled with confidential information, the idea that maybe if you spend enough time sniffing around town you'll bring down a mayor, a Congressman, or even a President. And it's that myth—a little bit true, but mostly made up by Hollywood and propagated by journalists who want to make their days spent reading government reports, meeting with mid-level bureaucrats, and calling think tankers seem far more glamorous than they really are—that helps groups like Free Press create enough public warm fuzzies so that they can count on people paying attention and maybe even being sympathetic when they come up with stuff like this, their most recent radical plan to save journalism by spending as much as $50 billion (!) in taxpayer funds on endowments, trusts, and a welfare-jobs-for-journalists program, just to name a few items from their array of ink-stained stupidity.

As TLF's Adam Thierer writes, it's the equivalent of a Soviet-style five-year plan for the media sector. He's got the full rundown and thorough rebuttals to all of it, and it's well worth reading. But this sort of nonsense flies in part because of the romantic myth that journalism has helped build for itself.

See Matt Welch for more myths employed by the journalism-bailout crowd ("accountability journalism" is disappearing!). Read more from Reason on journalism bailouts here.

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  • ||

    Don't worry, if the Republicans get back in power in a couple of years, accountablity journalism will recover quite nicely.

    It amazes me what self absorbed pricks journalists are. We are in the middle of a horrible recession and have a one and a half trillion dollar deficit. And these assholes have the nerve to ask for $50 billion to save "accountability journalism" not a year after they did everything they could possibly do to get Baby Jesus elected President without so much as any critical vetting.

  • ||

    John, you are dead on and very witty to boot! Punchy, pithy prose here, the sort that SHOULD be read by more people. Keep on keepin on!

  • ||

    Sure, everybody thinks they like journalism.

    Where would you get a notion like that?? You really need to hang out with some people who don't call themselves writers Pete.

  • ||

    I thought that to. People hate journalists. Other than Congressman and maybe lawyers, there isn't a more deeply hated profession. Most people think of journalists as exploitive scum sucking bottom feeders. And those are the people who have positve views of journalsts.

  • ||

    Used car salesmen.
    just sayin

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I thought that to. People hate journalists. Other than Congressman and maybe lawyers, there isn't a more deeply hated profession. Most people think of journalists as exploitive scum sucking bottom feeders. And those are the people who have positve views of journalsts.


    There were quite a few journalism scandals, like that scandal involving Dateline NBC back in 1993.

  • ||

    Was that where they rigged the test to show SUVs rolling over? Don't forget Steven Glass and Blair at the NYT and Rathergate and the numerous times 60 Minutes has been caught fabricating stories and evidence and doing things like paying Palistinian kids to throw rocks at Israeli soldiers.

  • ||

    Not to mention the al-Durra debacle in France.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Oh, but government media would never tow the lion. Here's the Beeb on how pot is bad, bad, bad.

    Quotes:

    "She knew she was introducing cannabis into an otherwise drug-free, rural location but she was being driven by money and at the time didn't stop to think of those who would become the victims. "

    "The Daily Mail instantly branded Palmer the 'drug-crazed killer' and the case sparked calls from senior police, politicians and newspapers to reverse the 2004 reclassification of cannabis from a class B to a class C drug.

    The Liverpool Echo declared it had unearthed super-strength cannabis 'so incredibly strong it can bring on the early signs of schizophrenia from a single puff.'

    Headlines linking cannabis with acts of violence are nothing new. "

    Even the MSM doesn't go this far with the bullshit.

  • ||

    Well to be absolutely fair to the BBC, they haven't ever really been reliably pro-administration. They are a bunch of hacks and biased as hell, but that is in service of their own agenda, and not because they tow the government lion.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Their reporting on cannbis is outrageous. I tried to find the link, but they once had a story about a 38 year-old woman who got emphysema from pot.

    Buried in the fourth paragraph was the fact that she'd smoked about 10 joints a day since she was 12 years old. For fuck's sake.

  • ||

    "Buried in the fourth paragraph was the fact that she'd smoked about 10 joints a day since she was 12 years old."

    I can't imagine the case of the stupids that would give you.

  • Zeb||

    The non-government sponsored media in Britain doesn't do any better reporting about cannabis over there. They just seem to have a special kind of crazy there when it comes to pot.

  • ||

    Here is some accountability journalism for you.

    "Walpin was investigating a California private school known as St. Hope, which was founded by Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star and friend of Rhee’s who was running for mayor of Sacramento. St. Hope had received about $850,000 in AmeriCorps money, and Walpin’s investigators were looking into charges that Johnson had misused those funds by assigning paid volunteer tutors to run errands for him and wash his car, as well as making them take part in political activities.

    In the course of the investigation, some young female AmeriCorps volunteers also charged that Johnson had made inappropriate sexual advances toward them and offered one of them $1,000 a month to keep quiet.

    Rhee, who later became engaged to marry Johnson, had been on St. Hope’s board of directors before taking over as chief of the District of Columbia system. Her apparent goal, as she visited Walpin, was to vouch for Johnson."
    http://www.washingtonexaminer......24762.html

    I am sure the big media will be all over it. Just as soon as they are done with important stuff like fact checking Sarah Palin's book for the 15th time.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Or how about the "we don't publish illegally acquired emails" response to Climategate from the NYT?

  • ||

    The same paper that still considers its publishing of the Pentegon Papers one of its proudest moments, which it may be. They will publish anything that is stolen from the government if doing so pushes their agenda. But publish some hacked e-mails that undermines AGW, they do have standards you know.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    The same paper that still considers its publishing of the Pentegon Papers one of its proudest moments, which it may be. They will publish anything that is stolen from the government if doing so pushes their agenda. But publish some hacked e-mails that undermines AGW, they do have standards you know.


    We need to shout out the NYT's hypocrisy.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    I now prefer the term 'Climaquiddick'

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Spewed coffee over this one. Good thing I've got a spare keyboard.

  • ||

    maybe if you spend enough time sniffing around town you'll bring down a mayor, a Congressman, or even a President.

    Maybe. But since most "journalists" seem to be much more interested in ass-sniffing than speaking truth, not much of that other stuff actually happens.

    And there's the other (practical) consideration; you have to make enough money off the book and film rights of your story to retire, because you're not going to get anywhere near people if they think you're going to stab them in the back and then throw them under the bus.

  • ||

    How does that explain Bob Woodward? He has thrown tons of people under the bus. Yet he seems to have access to everything.

    If you are famous enough and your books sell enough, people will hang themselves just to say they were a part of your book. That is the only way I can explain Woodward.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    "People hate journalists."
    That's ok. We hate the rest of you.
    (We especially hate John.)

    And treating the suggestions of the "Free Press" as if it were some sort of serious, mainstream press organization isn't something that should be encouraged.

  • ||

    Well I hate you to. Not really. I actually feel deeply rejected and saddened by the fact you hate me.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm sorry John. I voted for you, but Trilateral Commission bloc swung things the other way.

  • ||

    I have been at odds with them for years. It goes back to my moral objections to Dick Cheney and George Soros wearing each other's underwear to the secret meetings. But that is another story.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Obviously, a story the MSM will NEVER pick up.

  • ||

    If they are so concerned about "accountability journalism", why isn't Andrew Breitbart the most respected journalist in the world right now rather than a pariah?

  • ||

    Accountability = catching people you don't like breaking the rules.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    If they are so concerned about "accountability journalism", why isn't Andrew Breitbart the most respected journalist in the world right now rather than a pariah?

    Breitbart isn't making people accountable to ACORN and SEIU.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Actually, even after 25 years, I can't imagine a more interesting, enjoyable place to work than a big newsroom.
    I'm a sick, twisted fuck.

  • ||

    We should explore the creation of a government-seeded innovation fund for journalism — a taxpayer-supported venture capital firm that invests in new business models.

    Anyone that can write that with a straight face is only showing a tell as to just how far their choo-choo- has gone chugging around the Stalinist bend. I doubt that they even believe that would work, but it sounds sooooo Business 2.0.

    Hey! Maybe we could just have the gummint print *one* publication to save all sorts of money. We could call it "Truth" or something catchy like that. With a wicked, modern font, it would be all kinds of cool.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Hey! Maybe we could just have the gummint print *one* publication to save all sorts of money. We could call it "Truth" or something catchy like that. With a wicked, modern font, it would be all kinds of cool.


    Great idea.

    American citizens need to know the Truth .

  • ||

    But Comrade, Pravda was published by the Party, not the government (which published Izvestia).

  • Tony||

    I'm in favor of this. Government should be in charge of disseminating information, after it has been filtered for liberal approval, of course.

  • Chad||

    I agree, comrade.

  • Hillary Clinton||

    We are all going to have to rethink how we deal with [an uncensored internet], because there are all these competing values … Without any kind of editing function or gatekeeping function, what does it mean to have the right to defend your reputation?

  • Marc||

    Wait a minute... something's not right here...

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Hey! Maybe we could just have the gummint print *one* publication to save all sorts of money.

    Single Payer media reform. Competition is so wasteful of resources, when The Chosen Ones know how best to use them.

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    While we're at it, we can have:

    Single-payer food distribution
    Single-payer transportation
    Single-payer clothing
    Single-payer shelter
    Single-payer employment

    [/sarcasm]

  • ||

    Single-payer beer and single-payer hookers and we're all set.

    I don't care much about single-payer newspapers 'cause I can't read. You see, I went to single-payer schools.

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    Threadwinner.

  • ed||

    the Federal Trade Commission['s]...upcoming workshop on “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?”

    Sounds familiar. The Federal Horse and Carriage Commission, a century ago, fretted: "How Will Transportation Survive The Automobile Age."

  • Franklin Harris||

    Are you implying my newsroom chatter isn't arch, Suderman? I'll have you know my chatter is epically arch.

  • J. Jonah Jameson||

    Dammit, Parker, I want MORE pictures of that costumed freak Spider-Man!

  • Perry White||

    Dammit, Lois, where's Clark Kent? I need him to finish that Superman story he promised me!

  • Art-P.O.G.||

    I can't believe the thread went on this long without anyone pointing out that Dustin Hoffman has Steve Perry's haircut on that photo.

  • jesse||

    i can reads real good and nice cuz im is a college student in a single payer college program. A+

  • Mike M.||

    The media should just go back to the days when they were blatant and open about their biases, like in the early 20th century.

    The "we're unbiased" routine is insulting and doesn't fool anyone anyway.

  • ||

    Yeah its the New Deal media. Hasn't changed for the most part, Fox is an aberration

  • Mike Laursen||

    Although a libertarian, I would be totally down with the Federal government spending, say, $50,000 to hand out fedoras and handbooks of snappy language to the nation's journalists.

  • DBN||

    But my guess is that what they really like is the moviefied, Redfordized myth of journalism

    See "Balko, Radley"

    Keep fighting the good fight.

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