When Naomi Wolf wrote in AOL’s latest churnalism site about WikiLeaks and the Lost Cojones of American Journalism today, I was reminded of my reaction to the New York Times puff piece about Open Leaks yesterday:
Lets leave aside Wolf’s breathless assertion that
the WikiLeaks releases about Tunisian corruption have directly sparked a peoples’ uprising in Tunisia
for a minute (using Business Insider as a reference to “prove that” assertion is always a black mark in my view) and whether she is correct in her descriptions of Wikileaks as eligible for First Amendments rights as a publisher. Lets focus on the overall argument. Lets consider my reaction to the New York Times piece.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by the New York Times recent reaction if we remember how they reported the previously released Wikileaks War logs. But when its’ editor writes shoddy articles to promote his book on the engagement with Wikileaks, are we correct to wonder if it is in order to distance themselves from the unmerciful criticism they have received from less rational sources in the US and elsewhere since publishing the Diplomatic cables?
In a world where the main job of a journalist appears these days to be deriving copy from press releases or using soundbites as stories in order to feed the paymasters more eyeballs to second rate advertising, Wolf says many journalists are censoring themselves because they are afraid of being tarred with the treason brush and develop a fear of challenging authority, as a protective measure.
The Party line becomes the unquestioned line, the tweeted statements of Politicians are Retweeted without comment. “The man” becomes the messenger, the Ministry of Truth is in charge.
I appreciate, which Wolf seems not to, I am generalising, and don’t wish to denigrate all Journalists. But when a seasoned Political reporter like Mark Riley confronts Tony Abbott over the use of a colloquial term to describe bad fortune during the death of an Australian Soldier you have to question whether the idea of investigating and reporting stories, as opposed to generating stories is dying an accelerating death.
Perhaps it is ironic I’m referring to an article published in one of the sites which ordinarily celebrates the type of churnalism I am embittered towards in the week it was sold to the lords of the art of said churnalism. Perhaps I exaggerate the message, but I’m sick and tired of the News Media creating linkbait, celebrating themselves and reporting on themselves rather than investing in reporting the news.
That’s why I now use trusted sources fed into Instapaper, Smartr, Feedly and Twitter to get my news. And until the media and many journalists realise the story isn’t about them, the number of people like me is more likely to grow than contract.
* My tweet was referring to the Monkees being considered a foil to the Beatles when they were “created”