TRUTH IN JOURNALISM - SO HARD TO FIND

Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 03/13/2009 - 13:36.

Anyone who watched Jon Stewart’s dissection last night of Jim Cramer, of CNBC - and really all “conventional” journalism - got a lesson in why newspapers and TV news simply cannot – or will not - serve the American public.

 
The problem: They can’t tell the truth. They don’t trust the people with the truth. And they can’t bite the hand the feeds them.
 
Stewart, host of the Daily Show, almost mercilessly hit Cramer with all those truths and boy did it hurt.
 
Go to the Romenesko journalism site for various critics’ assessment of last night’s amazing encounter: http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=45    
 
I remember the cry of Mayor Carl Stokes at a news conference about Cleveland newspapers. I think it is instructive.
 
Stokes said, “There is hardly a place in this community where two or more persons join that their disgust in the two newspapers is not expressed. Rich people, poor people, black and white people. There is a serious erosion of confidence in their truthfulness, the integrity and the sincerity of the newspapers. And yet, what recourse do the people have as a source of news? None, really.”
 
All reporters of any intelligence or integrity know that they have real trouble telling the unvarnished truth, especially about the most important truths necessary in a democracy.
I remember Sander Vanocur, former NBC TV newsman, who summed it up nicely: “If you push too hard too often, you will find yourself odd man out.” He added, “I do not recall many incidents of rape, but seduction is rampant in the (television) industry.”
 
A non-journalist, Robert Cirino, wrote a book back in the 1960s that zeroed in on the lack of candor of newspapers. He asked, “Could America have ignored the hungry if the poor had had their own ABC, NBC or CBS? Could Americans have ignored racism if the blacks had had at their disposal the communications technology and techniques equal to those of the Establishment? Did the White newspapers, news magazines, radio or television audiences receive the black man’s viewpoint in an arena where all ideas had an equal chance to be present?”
 
I wonder now if newspapers had practiced unbiased coverage over the years whether now in their time of crisis they would not have maintained an allegiance and loyalty of readers so that they would not waste away as they are doing.
 
I guess we’ll never know.
 
 
 
 
 
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Stewart vs Cramer

For an excellent rundown of this clash see Glenn Greenwald of Salon here:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/