Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Dan Rather and the craft of journalism

Andrew Sullivan is on the affair d’Rather, and he is very harsh on CBS and Rather. As far as he is concerned Rather has already resigned. And, he is also very clear on what journalism is, and what bloggers do.

"Journalism is not a profession as such. It’s a craft. You get better at it by doing it; and there are very few ground rules. By and large, anyone with a mind, a modem, a telephone, and a conscience can be a journalist. The only criterion that matters is that you get stuff right; and if you get stuff wrong (and you will), you correct yourself as soon as possible. The blogosphere is threatening to some professional journalists because it exposes these simple truths. It demystifies the craft. It makes it seem easy--because, in essence, it often is.

Blogging’s comparative advantage has nothing to do with the alleged superior skills of bloggers or their higher intelligence, quicker wit, or more fabulous physiques. The blogosphere is a media improvement because the sheer number of blogs, and the speed of response, make errors hard to sustain for very long. The collective mind is also a corrective mind. Transparency is all. And the essence of journalistic trust is not simply the ability to get things right and to present views or ideas or facts clearly and entertainingly. It is also the capacity to admit error, suck it up, and correct what you’ve gotten wrong. Take it from me. I’ve both corrected and been corrected. When you screw up, it hurts. But in the long run, it’s a good hurt, because it takes you down a peg or two and reminds you what you’re supposed to be doing in the first place. Any journalist who starts mistaking himself for an oracle needs to be reminded who he is from time to time."

Discussions - 1 Comment

Another Rathergate.

Leave a Comment

* denotes a required field
 

No TrackBacks
TrackBack URL: http://nlt.ashbrook.org/movabletype/mt-tb.cgi/4966