Truth Vigilante

January 12, 2012

A recent editorial by the NYT Public Editor is drawing a lot of fire on the Twitts and blogs.

He asks if journalists should be “Truth Vigilantes” and places it in the context of verifying political assertions. In place of the usual cowardly he-said/she-said stenography that has almost entirely replaced the sadly lost profession of journalism.

Pfaah! I spit on stenographic media.

I invite you, dear reader, to relate your own moments of clarity where the stenographic replacement became crystal clear to you.

For me it was when then President George H. W. Bush came out of the back door of his Kennebunkport retreat and told the media that the best possible, most qualified person to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court of the united States was Clarence Thomas. His blatant falsehood went entirely unchallenged.

Eventually, I was able to close my mouth.

No Responses Yet to “Truth Vigilante”

  1. BugDoc Says:

    Best comment from dell Irving, TX, USA
    “As an alternative comment, would the hashtag #facepalm suffice?”


  2. becca Says:

    Wait, newspapers are supposed to report facts? News to me.

    No offense, but that’s a pretty lousy example of a blatant falsehood. It’s a great example of a blatantly out of touch with reality opinion, which H.W. Bush had many of.

    Frankly, I’d be content with newspapers being truth vigilantes in science reporting. Do you know how easy it is to find an example of a ‘good’ newspaper (like the NYT, which really has a perfectly respectable science section) quoting an ‘expert’ describing malaria as a virus?


  3. DJMH Says:

    Around when the NYT reported uncritically that Iraq was dealing for uranium yellow cake. Iraq didn’t have it together enough to be dealing for the Duncan Hines version, as any reasonable person could have sussed out.

    That’s why I like the New Yorker, which has an unbelievable in-house operation…but it doesn’t work on daily journo timescales.


  4. Pascale Says:

    You Whippersnappers missed the Nixon era. I was in junior high in a class that required daily newspaper reading and analysis. Of course, reporters eventually got his sorry ass, but he and his plumbers said some doozies.


  5. Susan Says:

    Three letters:


  6. drugmonkey Says:

    that’s a pretty lousy example of a blatant falsehood.

    not really. At the time there was a lot of discussion and gaming including independent assessment of judicial qualifications. Thomas was also being selected to fill Marshall’s seat after retirement. It did not even remotely pass the smell test for nobody to ask HW if he meant the best available *black* jurist or reliably reactionary conservative jurist…since Thomas sure as hell wasn’t at the top of any of the actual qualification lists.


  7. Grumble Says:

    Um, let me see. When was it that Pacifica Radio began broadcasting reports from the West Bank and Gaza, which revealed a reality on the ground that was the polar opposite of what the mainstream media was reporting (if they were reporting on the topic at all)?

    I began tuning in 15 years ago, but Pacifica has been around since 1946.


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