December 27, 2005

A More Courageous Press

Posted by Eric Jaffa
Saturday October 08th 2005, 6:52 pm
Filed under: Government, Media Watch, Free Press

As the Internet Movie Database reported last month:

TV reporters who covered the devastation of Hurricane Katrina have indicated that the experience has forever changed their approach to news stories and, in particular, how they present official versions of news events to the public. CBS’s John Roberts, regarded as the most likely candidate to succeed Dan Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News, told Saturday’s Los Angeles Times that the disparity between what reporters saw and what officials said was “stunning.” He added that in the future, “I think we’ll probably be quicker to ask questions. … I think we’ll be a little bit more skeptical of pronouncements that come from the administration and other levels of government.” Steve Harrigan, a correspondent for Fox News, generally regarded as sympathetic with administration policy, commented. “It really shocked me how inefficient our country was. You find yourself stunned on the air, reporting what you’re seeing.” And NBC’s Brian Williams told the newspaper, “I do think … the news media have been operating under a loose kind of 9/11 syndrome. Perhaps we are guilty of settling in to too comfortable a journalistic pattern, and perhaps this tragedy did serve as a reminder that this is what we do.”

A new “Opus” cartoon by Berkeley Breathed deals with a press with courage to criticize the government.

Summary: The penguin Opus pulls a human newspaper editor out from under his desk. Tells him “The tide is turning…the fog is lifting.” The editor says, “I love the smell of ink and bourbon in the morning…smells like… like… America” as they walk past a newspaper with a headline “Incompetent Fibbing Poopyheads Run Amok.”

Click here to view the cartoon. (If you’re using Internet Explorer and it shrinks the image, then double-click on the bottom-right corner for legible text.)

About the headline in the last panel, “Incompetent Fibbing Poopyheads Run Amok”:

It’s kind of like journalism teacher I. F. Stone’s lesson: “All governments lie.”

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