An interesting debate is going on over at Jay Rosen’s blog between Jay and Austin Bay concerning press coverage of the White House and the war. But beneath this discussion are issues that go beyond the age-old antagonism between the White House and the press that are beginning to make that conflict almost irrelevant.
The original idea was that press, on behalf of the people, would be a check on arrogant power. But who is representing whom here? At least outside the hard sciences, we may be reaching a time when the question of “What is a professional?” in many areas should be reevaluated and probably democratized. What qualifies a journalist, what qualifies a filmmaker, what qualifies a professor of humanities? The list goes on and on. In the Internet/web age these things are not nearly as easy to define as they once were. And Pollyanna that I am, I think this is a good thing.