It Was the Uncertainties of Working a Six-Figure Job in a Highly Profitable Industry That Made Me Do it!


Writing in the Washington Post this weekend, Jim Hoagland produces a novel apologia for the New York Times' pathetically misfired rumor-mongering about John McCain's love life:

I don't think the Times, one of the world's great newspapers, published its account out of political bias or for titillation. A better question is this: What effect did a string of well-publicized, morale-damaging crises in the newsroom, as well as the industry's darkening economic skies, have on the decision to print before the story was ready?

Better question? If that question even rises to the level of non-retarded, a much "better" follow-up is this: Given the apparent agony of toiling for top dollar in the thankless obscurity of the country's most respected news pages, how can the rest of us less-tenured journalistic life forms possibly resist the temptation to lie our faces off every goddamned morning? If economic security dictates truthiness, does that make every freelancer a fabulist, every college newspaper a collage of thinly sourced titillation?

Hoagland has two more Pulitzers than I'll ever own, so take it for what it is. But it never ceases to amaze me how one of America's last classes of cradle-to-grave employees—Hoagland's been WashPosting since before I was born—publicly conflates its own late-breaking career insecurities with the very fate of capital-D Democracy, and expects the rest of us to weep along at home. Then, when the grandees screw the pooch, they either blame the customer or the very (shudder) idea of competition itself. How 'bout just doing a better job next time?