It simply boggles the mind when a reporter mentions the name “Sarah Palin,” accompanies the mention with the type of snarkiness they are known for, then wonders why journalism is dying in America.
Just as Stacy pointed out in her fabulous piece on Julianne Moore this morning:
I have never seen another industry hold as many award ceremonies to honor itself than the narcissist-class in Hollywood. Most professionals don’t have the the low self-esteem required to devote so much time, effort, and money on events for the purpose of patting themselves on the back.
I find the same to be true with “real reporters” like Juan Williams. Just like Hollywood “celebrities,” they ride the wave of what they deem as popular within their ranks and simultaneously clutch onto any notoriety they can to fulfill their own narcissism.
This was the case in an article published today by the Chicago Tribune written by Leonard Pitts, Jr. In it, the “real reporter” takes issue with Palin’s claim: “Every citizen can be a reporter.”
Mr. Pitts begins the piece by mourning the cutback of the New Orleans Times who are reducing their printing down to three days a week:
Last month, that paper announced it was cutting staff and suspending daily publication, moving to a three-days-a-week schedule. We draw ever closer to the once-unthinkable day some major American city has no newspaper whatsoever.
He then goes on to express his disgust at Palin for her speech and the strong points she makes on citizen journalism. (Emphasis)
All of which lends a certain pungency to something Sarah Palin said recently at a conference of conservative activists in Las Vegas. “Every citizen can be a reporter, can take on the powers that be,” she said. According to Politico, she was quoting Matt Drudge. Ordinarily, you would dismiss it as just another silly thing Sarah Palin said. There is no shortage of those.
He then goes on to pat himself on the back while admitting to doing so. (Emphasis)
As it happens, I spent nearly a week on the Gulf Coast in Katrina’s wake. One night, I had the distinct honor of sleeping in an RV in the parking lot of the Sun Herald in Gulfport, Miss., part of an army of journalists who had descended on the beleaguered city to help its reporters get this story told. The locals wore donated clothes and subsisted on snack food. They worked from a broken building in a broken city where the rotten egg smell of natural gas lingered in the air and houses had been reduced to debris fields, to produce their paper. Shattered, cut off from the rest of the world, people in the Biloxi-Gulfport region received those jerry-rigged newspapers, those bulletins from the outside world, the way a starving man receives food.
It made me very proud of what we do for a living.
Will “citizen reporters” replace that function? Will they have the resources, the credibility, the knowledge, the training or even the desire to do so? No.
And not all the arias sung by Palin and like-minded people to new media and the do-it-yourself “journalism” of ideological crank cases will change that. The function served by daily newspaper journalism is critical to the very maintenance of democracy. It’s time we recognized that.
I plead guilty to tooting my own profession’s horn. Somebody needs to.
It goes without saying that all professions on this planet have good people within them. On 9/11 many firefighters and police officers risked and lost their lives to protect the lives of people they didn’t even know personally. Throughout these disasters, the same types of emergency crew members risk their lives as well. Many citizens got involved constructively by donating blood, money, organizing services, etc.
And I am certain there are good reporters around who face heat to deliver truth. But this author is proving why nobody takes him seriously — even when he pats himself on the back throughout the entire article. Why couldn’t he provide his argument without invoking the name of Sarah Palin? Why is it he had to take a snarky shot at the Governor even when she proved many examples in her speech revealing the value of citizen journalism and bloggers?
Governor Palin respects journalism. While Mr. Pitts chooses to condescend to her in this piece, as a reporter, you’d have thought he could at least mention the fact that Governor Palin’s degree is in journalism.
We all respect the men and women of our armed services overall. It is they who protect the freedom and liberty for “real reporters” like Mr. Pitts to pat himself on the back while he simultaneously proves why it is nobody takes his profession seriously anymore. Because of their inability to report without bias or snark, their craft is nearly dead.
Perhaps if they’d just tell us the truth without adding in their incendiary flops we’ve all grown accustomed to, more Americans could confidently rely on them.
(Photo Courtesy of Frugal Cafe Blog Zone)