Ed Driscoll

"Real Journalism"...And The Lack Thereof

Sounding a bit like the Bud Lite “Real Men of Genius” commercials, The Columbia Journalism Review salutes you–the men of…Real Journalism!

Today’s front-page piece in The New York Times about Congressman Charlie Rangel’s rent-control boondoggle–he has four rent-controlled apartments in Manhattan, including one that serves as a campaign office–is a clear illustration of what separates a real journalist from the thousands of pretenders who take great pleasure in denigrating the embattled MSM.

The very existence of the piece makes the case. We don’t typically find such stories on blogs, in part because most “citizen journalists” don’t have a professional journalist’s DNA. They too often pursue personal agendas, or partisan ones. There is evidence that this is changing–the citizen journalists at places like Off the Bus and the Chi-Town Daily News strive for journalism that is intellectually honest–and that is a welcome change indeed. Journalism–however flawed–is built upon the ideas that public servants should be held to a higher standard, that the powerful must be checked when they abuse that power, that the public has a right to information that the powerful would rather keep hidden.

Except of course, when gatekeepers are perfectly happy to keep things quiet:

From: “Pierce, Tony”

Date: July 24, 2008 10:54:41 AM PDT

To: [XXX]

Subject: john Edwards [sic]

Hey bloggers,

There has been a little buzz surrounding John Edwards and his alleged affair. Because the only source has been the National Enquirer we have decided not to cover the rumors or salacious speculations. So I am asking you all not to blog about this topic until further notified.

If you have any questions or are ever in need of story ideas that would best fit your blog, please don’t hesitate to ask [sic]

Keep rockin, [sic]

Tony

(Found via Steve Boriss.)