Sunday, August 19, 2007

Behind the newsroom door

David Gelernter makes a telling point about the MSM in his book Drawing Life (1997)

Michael Lewis reports in the New Republic on the '96 Dole presidential campaign: "The crowd flips the finger at the busloads of journalists and chant rude things at them as they enter each arena. The journalists, for their part, wear buttons that say 'yeah, i'm the Media. Screw You.'" The crowd hates the reporters, the reporters hate the crowd-- an even matchup, except that the reporters wield power and the crowed (in effect) wields none.
A decade passes and that media insouciance is long gone. Now, the MSM resembles a family out of a Tennessee Williams’ play. They are obsessed with maintaining appearances and in deep denial about their scandalous secrets. At the same time, they are always keen to heap scorn on the riff-raff who refuse to play along with their self-serving pretenses.

Case in point, this column from the Seattle Times:
Lessons in newsroom decorum

I doubt that many people were surprised that a bunch of journalists cheered when Rove resigned. Further, I doubt that the journalists wanted to discuss the issue once it became public. Sadly, they can no longer reply with a hearty, but private FU. So the guild has to pretend that it was a shocking breach of etiquette rather than business as usual. Then they serve us mawkish platitudes mixed with the strategic slam on those who dare question the elect:

The hallowed halls of journalism that I was privileged to enter more than 20 years ago are looking more and more like the New York subway. The walls covered in bloggers' scrawl, the platform crowded with any yahoo with a camera and an open mike. All are headed to your computer screen or television for the 15 seconds you'll give them before moving on to the next hot spot.

That's not how we do things at this newspaper

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