August 13, 2007
JOHN LEO ON MODERN JOURNALISM:
If anyone ever starts a museum of horrible explanations, the one-liner by Newsweek's Evan Thomas about his magazine's dubious reporting on the Duke non-rape case — "The narrative was right but the facts were wrong" — is destined to become a popular exhibit, right up there with "we had to destroy the village to save it."
What Mr. Thomas seems to mean is that the newsroom view of the lacrosse players as privileged, sexist, and arrogant white male jocks was the correct angle on the story. It wasn't. . . .
We now live in a docudrama world in which techniques of fiction and nonfiction are starting to blur. Many reporters think objectivity is a myth. They see journalism as inherently a subjective exercise in which the feelings and the will of the journalist function to reveal the truth of what has occurred. Two results are the emotional commitment to powerful but untrue story lines, and a further loss of credibility for the press.
UPDATE: "And we wonder why our approval ratings are in the crapper?"