Journalism hits the iceberg?

Since the latest winners of the Pulitzer Prizes are usually announce around the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and are scheduled to be announced on Monday, April 12, 2010, we thought it might be timely to write a column thanking all the Journalists who are killing off the American treasure known as “the free press.”  Is Journalism in the USA in bad shape?  Does journalism now have anything in common with the Titanic after it hit the iceberg? 

Journalists who visited George W. Bush’s “ranch” during the 2000 Presidential election campaign and surely noticed that there was a big swimming pool and very little (if any) real ranching going on.  They helped the former frat boy foist the image of a hard working ranch owner on the gullible public. 

How quickly did those fighting for truth, justice, and the American way, report that the “sabotaged office equipment” story was hogwash?  Didn’t want to offend the new White House resident, now did they?  Clinton was retiring (sort of) and so who cares if the stories were ever proved to be untrue? 

The captain of the Titanic wanted to set a speed record because that would be a great image for boosting ticket sales.

Journalists never questioned the free 2004 Bush reelection campaign ad staged on the smoldering ruins of the World Trade Center.  The tip-off was the clown in the fireman’s helmet three days after the event.  Those hats are heavy and the first thing a fireman wants to do when the blaze has been knocked down is get that damn thing off his head.  Republicans knew that the hat was a very appropriate set decoration.  The journalists, who love to get on TV and present themselves as omnipotent, didn’t want to “rock the boat” and point out how insipid the hat looked.

The captain of the Titanic was content to believe the “unsinkable” spin.  There had been some cost vs. shaving corners debate during the design and construction of the Titanic.  (See Stanley Lord’s two books about the famous disaster.)

Journalists relayed the “it just fell down” story about Building 7 to the public in unquestioning bucket brigade fashion.  They did not (and still do not) question the suppression of security tapes showing the impact at the Pentagon. 

Only tinfoil hat lunatics questioned invading Iraq for the attack carried out by Saudis.  Couldn’t just one paid journalist have pointed out that it was as if the Apaches attacked a fort in Arizona and the US responded by sending a massive military response to inflict def facto genocide on the Sioux?

The captain and crew of the California were perplexed by the distress signals being fired from the Titanic.  (The California was within sight of the Titanic.)

Journalists who have (as rookies) ever been scolded by a furious city desk for omitting a source just seem to have suffered a massive case of infallible editorializing (for fun . . . or profit?) in lieu of basic reporting skill.  Where were the M. E.’s who were supposed to bellow:  “You dumb illegitimate child born of a dog, have you suddenly become a PhD in mental health?  You wrote:  ‘Howard Dean suffered a mental break down!’  Do you want us to be sued for libel and slander?  You have to say who says that.  Did a famous expert say it?  If so, you have to put it in the story!  It would go something like this:  “Dr. Simund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, said that frontrunner Howard Dean showed all the symptoms of a complete mental meltdown on Tuesday when he cheered his own recent primary win.’   Where did you get your journalism degree?”  Unfortunately, all the M. E.’s in the US let this beginner level journalism go unchallenged.

Where did Captain xxx get the idea of setting a speed record?  Did he think it up himself or did some company officials suggest it?  Afterwards the ship company management did a fine forecast of Bush Administration Amnesia Syndrome and couldn’t remember any such suggestion ever, ever, ever, being made by them to the deceased captain.

Now as to the vulnerability of electronic voting machines to nefarious manipulations by unscrupulous partisans, there isn’t one scrap of paper in existence with a story printed on it about such a possibility, ergo it mustn’t exist.

After the Titanic’s side was ripped open by the iceberg, some stalwarts asserted that there was no need to rush to the lifeboats being launched.  The ship was unsinkable and the lifeboats were an unnecessary precaution being initiated by the overcautious nonbelievers.

While the Columbia Journalism Review doesn’t endorse the full Fox falderal approach to news reporting, that magazine has not been very critical of the track record for the “without fear or favor” standard during the Bush Administration. 

If the captain of the Titanic had survived, would he and a platoon of lawyers, used the Lee Harvey Oswald defense?  I.e.  “I’m a patsy.”

Will some J-school PhD candidate ever tackle the myth of Sisyphus challenge of checking to see if every attempt to repent and reform poor journalism comes only when a Republican President, who got a complete pass from a subservient press, is replaced by a new Democratic resident in the White House? 

If the nations’ paid journalists only hold a Democrat’s feet to the fire, isn’t that better than always printing propaganda?  A .500 batting average is better than a .001 one, id nit?

The Titanic sank quickly.  Perhaps historians will determine that “freedom of the press” disappeared from America just about as fast albeit much less noticed?

Does Proverbs 15:1 sayeth:  “A soft answer turneth away wrath.”?   I can’t remember.

Now, the disk jockey will play “Sea Cruise,” Jody Reynold’s “Endless Sleep,” and “My Bucket’s got a hole in it.”  We have to go torpedo the idea that the Pulitzer committee should give an award to the comedians on Fox News.  Have a “Good night, and good luck” type week.



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