Sunday, August 30, 2009

What Is Wrong With Journalists?

Barbra Oakley has a very interesting article in Psychology Today explaining what is wrong with journalists. The whole article is a must read, but I especially liked the closing.

As far as investigating the dark side of the Major Issues, there’s a critically important concept that students of journalism are rarely taught. It’s easy to find any number of targets to write about in capitalist societies with an open press. But totalitarian governments are journalistic black holes. Journalists can tickle their self-righteous neurocircuitry every day (and many do), by exposing easy-to-find faults in democratic societies. But beyond their event horizon is the bigger story that often remains untold as it occurs—the horrific deaths of millions in totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea and, yes, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. That’s why, when Robert Conquest was asked whether he wanted to retitle his updated The Great Terror,about the Soviet purges, his answer was: Yes, how about I Told You So, You Fucking Fools?

If you’re a journalist, want to help people and want to tell the truth, what truth are you going to tell? Why, the truth you think helps people, of course!

Technically, that’s the truth.

But it’s very different than the truth.
It would be real nice if journalists recognized the one true fact about politicians taught to me by my grandfather (on my mother's side). "They are all crooks." Which means none should get special treatment from the press. In fact if I was a political strategic thinker I'd make sure the crooks in my party got the harshest treatment possible. Pour l'encourager les autres. Then my party gets known as more honest and that might help swing a few elections when the voters decide "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more." What are the odds? Slim and none.

H/T R. Dave at Talk polywell

Cross Posted at Classical Values


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Neil said...

Have you ever noticed how small the bribes are when a Congressman or Senator gets bought? A major "contributor" can screw the entire country for $100K. I find that appalling.

The best way to get honest government would be to out-bid them all. Raise the annual salary for national office to make sure that every last one of them is in the top 1% of earners, if not the top 1/2%. And give them a good "loser's" pension when they resign or lose an election, that continues to pay about 50% of their salary for the rest of their lives, with cost-of-living raises. I want to make sure that after one term as a Senator or a couple of terms as a Representative, our public servants are set for life. They'll never want for anything again, ever.

This has a few really important effects:

1) Rapid turnover of national office-holders. Why work so hard? You're set for life!

2) Less of a psychological need to remain in office, no matter the cost. After all, you're set for life!

3) It would be much more expensive to purchase legislation. If Senator X doesn't really need the money...after all, he's set for life!