web counter Media Lies: Interesting piece on journalists

Monday, August 30, 2004

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Interesting piece on journalists

The Chicago Tribune (not known for its conservative bent) published an article by Mary Schmich in which she agonizes over the the appearance of journalists schmoozing with the wealthy, stuffing themselves at the free food fests and taking advantage of such luxuries as free cigars, lattes and hair cuts. She wonders how the public cannot help but see them as being influenced by the largesse.

Many of her colleagues slough it off as much ado about nothing, as if nothing could sway their opinions. (Given that it's the Republican convention they're covering, I suppose they're probably right in this case. Nothing the Republicans do can influence their left-leaning philosophies.) They do so at their own peril.

Mary is right to worry about the influence. It's just as diminishing to journalists as it is to lobbyists and politicians. The trouble is, no one seems to have the strength of character to do anything about it. It's a sad commentary on our times. Celebrity and "freebies" are more important than personal integrity. Who you're with is more important than who you are.

There is hope, however. The new journalism of the internet is much like non-professional sports. It's done for the pleasure of it, or because one is driven by a desire to be heard or have influence. I do worry, however, that the bloggers that accept money for writing will fall in to the same trap eventually. I hope not.

I first started this blog because the Dallas Morning News wouldn't print my letters to the editor, and I felt I had something to say that others needed to hear. I vacillated between thinking it was too egotistical an endeavor to continue and being frustrated that my voice wasn't being heard.

It has become a search for the truth, a sifting through the confusion of the media for the facts. It's demanding. It takes a great deal of my time. My compensation is the satisfaction that I've been able to express my thoughts and concerns and perhaps bring clarity to some of the issues that confront us.

If anyone enjoys reading my blog that is icing on the cake.