February 14, 2005

Time for a New Rice Bowl


2/14/2005 1:52:48 PM

From GERARD VAN DER LEUN: Corey Pein [letter below] ,alas, needs to take either a blogging refresher course at Columbia, or a break. He also needs to start living where the news is made, in the now. What may have been a "non-scandal" last week at this time when a Google News search on "Eason Jordan" brought up 8 sources of which 7 were blogs, now delivers over 200 sources -- mostly mainstream newspapers. And if the story means anything in terms of inside baseball at all, it means that "Yes, Corey, you do need to pay more attention, not to certain blogs, but to many." Technote to Corey: News aggregators make this a snap. Get one.

But should journalists "pander to reactionary sentiment"? Heaven forfend. Indeed, Mr. Pein tars decent journalists everywhere by thinking that they would ever pander to any sort of political sentiment. I certainly don't think the Columbia School of Journalism teaches pandering, does it? It seems to me that journalists on the media beat need to have a reportorial mind-set that is pre-judges nothing.

Mr. Pein can begin the healing by putting himself through a re-education process that does not cause his keyboard to jerk from Fox News to Pravada in less than 120 characters. Journalists who maintain this sort of mind-set are not good candidates for the media beat in today's WayNew world. I am sure that not even Mr. Pein or others at "America's Premiere Media Monitor" would argue that assigning a journalist to "report" on a subject who is on record as hating and despising the subject is the way to go here.

In short, although it seems to have eluded Pein, paying more attention to blogs in the wake of the Eason Affair has nothing of the weasel about it. Blogs should have been a staple of the media beat long ago. Reporting on them from the perspective that some are Pravda and others are pure is something that should never have been imported into the beat to begin with.

Blogs rise in value not because "a majority of Americans, journalists included, no longer accept the idea that there is a reality beyond themselves," but because a majority of Americans (journalists included?) no longer accept the version of reality dished up to them by those institutions and organizations that fund operations such as, well, The Columbia Journalism Review.

It seems to me that when somebody breaks your rice bowl you can either 1) get mad at them and try to get even; 2) weep and gnash teeth and rend garments over broken rice bowl; or 3) get a new rice bowl.


EXCERPT FROM LETTER BY COREY PEIN (Assistant Editor, Columbia Journalism Review): "Arguing that we need to pay more attention to certain blogs and get on top of non-scandals like "Easongate" is a weasely way of saying that journalists should pander to reactionary sentiment. But more time spent in front of computers will not save journalism. Nor will looking to Fox News as a model of integrity and audience relations.

What journalists do need to understand is why so many people prefer Pravda...."

Posted by Vanderleun at February 14, 2005 12:38 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Surely that should read "..why so many people prefer Prada" for their vast-left-wing-conspiracy-storing handbags.

Run spellcheck, willya, Corey?

Posted by: Axel Kassel at February 14, 2005 2:55 PM

Hmp... I was wondering the same thing, Axel. Why on earth would someone believe that anyone who is actually interested in keeping up with reality would prefer Pravda???


Posted by: mamapajamas at February 14, 2005 2:59 PM

I liked Casey Laughman's response too. Me, I'm still kind of miffed that Pein referred to me as a "conservative humor blogger." Oh, you think I'm funny? Funny how? Do I look like a clown to you? Etc.

Posted by: Jim Treacher at February 14, 2005 8:52 PM

Wow. Cory Pein is even more juvenile and clueless than I thought. Are we sure this guy isn't an undergrad?

Posted by: Yehudit at February 14, 2005 9:07 PM

Gerard, noted is the deep reluctance to admit, even for a moment, that ANYONE other than we, the pure, the washed, the holy exalted high-priesthood of newsology, could possibly have any but the most obscure, hazy and biased view of reality...

But hey, when yr days are numbered, smear them all as 'Pravda' people, while there are still some who remember what that dishonored publication stood for, eh, Corey?

Posted by: Carridine at February 15, 2005 11:03 PM