Quote of the week

While covering the Massachusetts Senate race, Robert Stacy McCain encounters, to his delight, actual reporters, mostly at medium-sized papers:

These local reporters do the kind of straightforward, Joe Friday “just-the-facts-ma’am” reporting I was taught to do back in the day. The prospect of losing that Old School attitude is one reason I am reluctant to join the online cheerleaders for the decline of dead tree journalism.

Which reminds me: “Dead-tree” as an adjective in this context is probably accurate, but that word “dead,” even though it properly modifies “tree,” tends to ooze over the entire phrase, giving the impression of imminent extinction.

And that’s something you’d not want to encourage, regardless of your political positions, says McCain:

What’s not so great is the kind of blanket anti-media hostility that celebrates the death of dead tree journalism as an end unto itself. Old School journalism thrives best in the dead-tree environment. Media bias is a story as old as Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer-winning Stalinist propaganda. But the answer to bias is not a Samson-in-the-temple frenzy to destroy the entire commercial enterprise that employs the majority of America’s professional reporters.

It annoys the hell out of me when people act as if that the expression of opinion is more important than the reporting of facts, and that TV talking-heads are more important than reporters whose medium is the written word. Conservatives who disdain reporting and disrespect reporters — and, oh, could I tell you some stories about that — are guilty of a recto-cranial inversion, suffering a self-defeating delusion about the nature of media.

And as for those lost souls who think it the function of reporters to adhere to the talking points proclaimed by their betters, you have to assume that they’ve been seduced by the breathtaking view of their own alimentary canals.


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