NYT's David Carr on Wikileaks and the journalists who hate them


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I don’t know enough journalists to be able to tell; but I’m honestly really curious:

When you get these attacks on these-damn-kids-with-their-not-real-journalism is that the sincere vitriol of whole-hearted bootlicking establishment toadies, or is that a spiteful external manifestation of the self-loathing that somebody who, once upon a time, went to journalist school for some idealistic reason or another and is now sitting in his office regurgitating press releases and watching people who’ve lost more nerve than he’s ever had going out and actually Getting Journalism Done?

I have no doubt that there are some sincere authoritarian dickheads among the journalists, as anywhere else; but I have to imagine that there is some journalistic analog to the ‘chickenhawk’, too selfish or cowardly to take the big risk on the big story and now totally unable to let go, lashing out at the people who are neither.

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I think it has to do with too much corporate ownership of news organizations, in general. Also, there is an immense amount of cow-towing to whoever is in power in order to gain/keep connections, as you said, bootlicking. Judith Miller was a prime example of this. And lastly, of course there is jealousy of the big scoop.

Another factor may be, after racking up a quarter million student loan debt at an Ivy League college, they don’t much like seeing their lessers getting the scoop. How many times now have they reminded us Snowden “didn’t even finish High School?” As if that makes PRISM not be real.

In terms of why virtually any major media outlet has a newsroom full of toadies, ownership (along with the cult of ‘access’) is definitely the culprit. What I find fascinating is the question of what kind of toadies they are. Operationally, it doesn’t matter much, toadies toady, that’s what they do; but I’m curious about the (probably not answerable) question of what goes through their heads when they are busy toadying.

Sincere cringer before Power, whoever has it? Terminal case of identification with the people one is supposed to be reporting on? The bitter resentment of somebody who knows that they are a hack toward somebody who they know isn’t?

The “journalists” who are turning on Wikileaks and Snowden are about as much journalists as the communist stooges at the Global Times.

I can’t disagree, but to be fair they’re horribly motivated and often coerced, and that’s not exactly the most stable career. When people are scared they get a bit crazy.

It’s not the people that’s the problem, it’s the context.

You could say the same about their counterparts at the Global Times.

I did.

Of course I can’t answer that question, but here’s what I think: I think most of the people criticizing Greenwald aren’t anywhere near journalists. At best, they are editorializing on news and news gatherers. At worst, they are empty talking heads filling the space of time to manufacture a different angle on a story, making the messenger the subject, rather than the meat of the story. Generating outrage is paramount to page clicks and stopping on the dial. They are shaking their moneymakers, if you will. Righteous indignation sells. There is more news commentary in this day and age than there is muckraking. Maybe it is so foreign a concept, that when they see someone actually bringing forth bona fide news, all they can do is bark at it. I see it like the workers in an office who become angry with the new guy for making them look bad by actually working and not simply looking busy. How dare they break the status quo and jeopardize the wealth and ivory tower of those with comfy connections who only relay press releases or accept statements of the powerful to the masses unquestioned?

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