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Friday, September 14, 2012

What Happened to Journalism?

“I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.” — Walter Williams, The Journalist’s Creed.

Over 100 years ago Walter Williams the first dean of first dean of the Missouri School of Journalism penned something called the Journalist Creed. Williams wrote down 8 declarations for journalists to abide by that are memorialized on a plaque located on the main stairway to the second floor of Neff Hall at the University of Missouri:

  • I believe in the profession of journalism.
  • I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of their responsibility, trustees for the public; that acceptance of a lesser service than the public service is betrayal of this trust.
  • I believe that clear thinking and clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
  • I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.
  • I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.
  • I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.
  • I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that the supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.
  • I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.”

May I ask if you have seen any of this creed in play from the so-called journalists representing the mainstream media these past few days?

Peter Wilson writes in his blog posted on American Thinker; Romney 'reckless remarks' feeding frenzy at Boston Globe:

“I had to cancel my subscription to the Boston Globe today, for health reasons. (I know, I should have done it years ago, but the kids like the comics.)

I suffer from mild hypertension, but at a check-up yesterday I discovered that my blood pressure was entirely in the normal range. I was pondering whether it was a coincidence that my Globe subscription had been on vacation stop for the last month. Then my subscription restarted this morning. I had heard how reporters were caught on a hot mic at the Romney press conference discussing how they would twist the story to make it about Romney. Today's Globe coverage is proof of this conspiracy. The front page placed two stories side by side: the story of murderous Islamic aggression in Egypt and Libya titled "Obama vows justice in Libya killings" and one about how "Romney causes stir with remarks on attacks."

The editorial page contains an editorial titled, "Romney's Fateful Miscue" (published online as "Romney's comments raise doubts about his foreign-policy savvy"), and an op-ed by Nicholas Burns, "Murders in Libya point to need for wise leaders in US" in which he raves and foams at the mouth about how Romney is "reckless and irresponsible" compared to the "steeliness, calm strength and determination of Obama." Excuse me while I vomit. Burns wimpers [sic] about how "Romney injected politics into the presidential race." Well, duh. No, Mr. Burns, I spluttered, it is you and your corrupt cronies who inject leftist politics into your reporting every day. The embassy attacks are the inevitable result of President Obama's failed Arab Spring foreign policy and coddling of Muslim Brotherhood thugs. Mitt Romney was right to make the comments he did. At this point I realized that my blood pressure was spiking. Canceling my subscription was the only prescription to alleviate this potentially dangerous condition.”

Something the left-wing journalists love to tell us is that job is to speak “Truth to Power.” This phase, if you note is not in Mr. Williams’ creed. According to the Urban Dictionary the phase was coined by the Quakers in the mid-1950’s. It was a call for the United States to stand firm against fascism and other forms of totalitarianism: The UD describes the phase thusly:

“A vacuous phrase used by some on the political Left, especially the denizens of the Democratic Underground website. Ostensibly, it means to verbally confront or challenge conservative politicians and conservative ideals using the overwhelmingly logical and moral arguments of liberalism. Doing so would, naturally of course, devastate the target individual, leaving them a stuttering, stammering bowl of defeated jelly. That or cause them to experience an epiphany that would have such a profound, worldview-changing effect that they would immediately go out and buy a Che t-shirt and start reading Noam Chomsky. Unfortunately, the individuals who would use this phrase have little or no understanding of either liberalism or conservatism, and the "truth" that they speak consists mainly of epithets and talking points, memorized by rote, which they learned from other, equally vapid liberals. As such "speak truth to power" joins other feel-good but ultimately meaningless gems from Leftist history such as "right on", "up against the wall". "question everything" and the ever-popular "f**k you, pig".

This was well in evidence the past few days as the MSM focused blame on “Romney’s reckless remarks” and totally disregarded asking President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and administration spokesmen probing questions about the attacks in Libya and the violent demonstrations in Cairo. Here are a few examples of their bias and nepotism:

It took the French and Libyan press to give out the details and timeline of the killing of Ambassador Stevens and his three aides. According to the New York Post Ambassador was raped and sodomized before he was murdered:

“The Lebanese news organization is reporting that the murdered American ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was raped prior to his killing September 11, 2012.

The Lebanese news report cited the Agence France-Presse (AFP) broke the story when given the information by an unnamed senior member of the Libyan Interior Ministry. also reported via Google translation from the original Arabic, Ambassador Stevens:

"...was killed and representation of his body in a manner similar to what happened with Gaddafi, such as murder."

According to the BBC, when the former Libyan strongman Colonel Moammar Gaddafi was initially captured:

"Still images from an analysis of amateur video footage taken in the moments after Col Gaddafi's capture appear to show him being sodomised with a pole or knife."

So much for probing questions by the MSM and William’s 5th law: “I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.”

The MSM and White House Press Corps have acted more like clowns these past few days.

On Wednesday, as the American consulate in Libya was smoking and the rioters were returning in Egypt, the President of the United States flew off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser while his spokesman was telling the American press corps that Tuesday wasn’t really a normal political day. Had it been George W. Bush, the media would, right now, be marching on the White House with pitch forks and torches. Remember, on 9/11, as events were unfolding in Washington, the American media was crying for President Bush to return to Washington. They wanted Daddy at home in the White House where he could tuck them in bed, damn the security issues of getting him there.

I get that Chuck Todd is a former Democrat hill staffer. I get that the Politico is riddled with Democrats, some former activists and a former staffer forgoing-to-vegas Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I get that Michael Scherer from Time magazine is a left wing reporter for Mother Jones and turned respectable, “objective” journalist. I get that Ben Smith, leading up Buzz Feed, is a leftwing journalist paraded about as if he is some sort of objective reporter at a trendy site full of cat photos. What I really get is that the American media runs with a herd mentality, leans left, and on Tuesday and Wednesday collectively fell over their group think as they leaned so far left to focus on Mitt Romney and not President Obama. On Wednesday, the American media beclowned itself in ways I didn’t really even think was possible, even knowing how in the tank for Barack Obama they are.

On Wednesday, we learned that there were no Marines protecting our Ambassador to Libya despite State Department warnings about violence and kidnappings in the Benghazi. We already knew Al Qaeda was coming on strong there. But we relied on locals for support and now we know the locals betrayed us as they have in the past in Afghanistan and Iraq too.

But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney. Where were the probing questions?

Night before last, the President condemned Mitt Romney in harsher tones than he condemned the rioters. It took him until sun up yesterday to condemn them.

But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney.

On Wednesday, the media spent much time condemning the Coptic Christians for their movie, but we now know the movie had been out for months and we also know the riots were orchestrated in advance. We also know the attack on the American consulate in Libya used the riots as cover for the attack.

But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney. Where were the probing questions?

Wednesday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a man who swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, called an American civilian to ask him to stop exercising his first amendment rights.

But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney. Where were the probing questions?

We also now know that the President, close to 60% of the time, has opted for printed intelligence briefings, which this White House thinks are as useful as an intelligence officer in the room who the President can probe, prod, challenge, and question.

But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney. Where were the probing questions?

In focusing on Mitt Romney, finally, of all the places, Slate and Dave Weigel finally pointed out that Mitt Romney’s gaffe was no gaffe, it was a consistent view of foreign policy foreign to the ears of the political press. He, I, and many others really do think Barack Obama is an apologist. We really do think his speech to Cairo after his entrance to the White House was part of a world apology tour. And we sure as hell think his actions in the past year to foster the Arab Spring were the actions of a naive fool.

We have the reports that two of Stevens’ aides were former Navy SEALs. Where were the probing questions from the MSM?

Marc Thiessen provides a shocker in his Washington Post column: the day after America’s embassy in Cairo was assaulted and the consulate in Benghazi, Libya fell victim to an armed attack that killed four, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the president once again skipped his intelligence briefing, choosing instead to fly off to Las Vegas to fundraise while the world continued to burn.

This after being inexcusably unprepared for, and unaware of the threat of, violent protests and, in the case of Libya, a terrorist attack against the official representatives of the United States of America in two North African nations. Since those attacks, protests have taken place in Yemen, Tunisia, and Kuwait, with State Department warnings having been issued for several more countries.

Also since those attacks, President Obama has criticized Mitt Romney for “shooting first and aiming later” by speaking about international situation – a statement that is doubly galling considering the fact that Obama himself, rather than learn about facts and threats, blew off his own intel briefing to go fundraise in Las Vegas.

Where were the probing questions? Where is the allegiance to the Journalists Creed?

To quote President Obama, the fever that has held the media since September 11 may be breaking. At least, one mainstream journalist appears able to see – and willing to acknowledge – that Barack Obama, not Mitt Romney, is commander in chief, and that the situations in Egypt and elsewhere right now reflect a far worse reality than that of four years ago.

For NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, the tipping point was a Telemundo interview that aired Wednesday night, in which Obama declared that Egypt is not an ally of the United States. As Moe Lane noted here this morning, that is a significant development from last year, when Obama specifically acknowledged Egypt as” an ally of ours on a lot of critical issues.”

“Yeah, I almost had to sit down when I heard that. For the last forty years, the United States has had two main allies in the Middle East — Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the other ally in the Middle East being Israel. For the President to come out and say, well, he’s not exactly sure if Egypt is an ally any more but it’s not an enemy, that is a significant change in the perspective of Washington toward this country, the biggest country in the Arab world. It makes one wonder, well, was it worth it? Was it worth supporting the Arab Spring, supporting the demonstrations here in Tahrir Square, when now in Tahrir Square there are clashes going on behind me right in front of the US embassy?

You can see now teargas coming — teargas being fired into a crowd of demonstrators who are trying to get close to the embassy, which is at the end of the street, and throw rocks at the US embassy. A very different scene here, a very different Egypt before, when the United States — President Obama — was supporting the demonstrators, President Mubarak was in power, and Egypt was very much an ally. The President doesn’t seem to be sure if Egypt is an ally any more, and some demonstrators who the Arab Spring helped give a voice to are trying to attack the US embassy.”

But then the media has been playing the naive fool for him.

While our so-called journalists live comfortable lives and spend time in the Washington, D.C. cocktail circuit and get invited to dinners at the White House real journalists are being kidnapped and murdered all around the world. On August 8, 2012 Roy Greenslade reported in his blog in the Guardian that 70 journalists were killed in a 6 month period in places like Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Brazil Indonesia, and Mexico. The Huffington Post carries an AP report that 67 journalists have been killed and 14 disappeared in Mexico since 2006, most by the drug cartels. Press advocates have long called Mexico one of the most dangerous nations for reporters. If you want to get a better idea of how many journalists have been killed around the world you can see a list of links by clicking here. Perhaps some of these journalists went to the University of Missouri and bought into Williams’ Creed.

The so-called MSM journalists live in county where they are protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution, something they constantly clamor about. Yet they take their responsibility to that freedom too lightly. They are more concerned with their elevated place in our society than “speaking truth to power.”

I would remind them of the sixth law of the Journalist’s Creed:

“I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocketbook is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.”

The dividends that accrue to the MSM and White House Press Corps are the power and prestige the command from their elevated position in our society and they in no way want to jeopardize that elevated position by exposing the faults and wrong-headed policies of the Obama administration.

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