January 3, 2008

"Since when is it considered unprofessional for a journalist to take a drink? "

Jack Shafer is nostalgic for boozy reporters.


Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) said...

Well ... they certainly seemed to make a substantially better job of reporting than the current crop of J-school droids.

Phrased another way, a clear mind three-sheets-to-the-wind is nevertheless much clearer than your standard-issue sober-but-biased, factually-challenged, mentally-befuddled hack.

SGT Ted said...

To expand on what Bart said:

It is appalling that drunken Highschool graduates who worked their way up to being a reporter produced better news than allegedly sober people with a certificate of attendance in a Journalism "school".

Maybe because such degrees (education and victim-studies degrees come to mind) are make work consumer fraud disguised as education?

MadisonMan said...

Booze is BAD for you! It's obviously unprofessional to do something that is bad for you, right? The government should do something about this.

Eli Blake said...

As I recall, Shane drank a lot of milk shakes and sarsaparilla (what today would be called, 'root beer.')

His opponents drank a lot of booze, which partially explains why Shane was a better shot.

Oh, yeah. Wrong genre. Wrong Jack Shafer. Wrong era.

Nowadays there is nothing as 'square' as reading westerns. Getting drunk on the job is now 'hip.' At least if you are reporting the news.

All of which explains why newscasters think we actually want to hear ad nauseum about O.J., Lindsay Lohan, the Spears family, etc.

Pogo said...

The neo-Puritanism of small virtues foists the doctrine of health fundamentalism on scribes unable to adhere to the far more worthy but more difficult values of truth-telling and love of country.

Lacking professional honor, they pledge to the Modern Temperance League, promoting abstinence and multiculturalism above all else, thinking "the right narrative" adequate substitute for unbiased reporting of the actual facts.

Pravda for American socialists.

Middle Class Guy said...

Journalism is not a profession.

George said...

The Shafer essay you link to contains this quote...

"It wasn't that long ago that alcoholics were celebrated or at least regaled in newsrooms for their heroic immoderation."

Of course, the author gives no examples. Not one.

That's journalism! At Slate!

How lazy.

Incidentially, if you visit Shafer's wiki site, you find the following...

"Much of Shafer's writing focuses on what he sees as a lack of precision and rigor in reporting by the mainstream media."

And you learn that he was responsible for not editing the "monkeyfishing" story. Said he "oversaw several rewrites"! Later, the Wall St. J. reported that Shafer had been hoaxed.

(PS...If you visit the Wiki page of ex-PBS host Robert MacNeil's, you learn that he may have encounted Oswald immediately after the assassination. (MacNeil was covering the White House for NBC at the time.) What you don't learn--that you will find in Vincent Bugliosi's "Reclaiming History"--is that MacNeil was working that day on three-and-a-half hours sleep and a 'light' breakfast which included a Bloody Mary. Of course, even though he was in a press bus at the time of the shooting, he did not experience it, because he was in "a half sleep.")

goesh said...

- a few nips from a proper flask never hurt anyone or any news report

Meade said...

Spellings and pronunciations of the word "verisimilitude" after, respectively, one, two, and three shots of vodka:

Dдnilo ядtheяov

Meade said...

from ScrappleFace (sort of):

Thompson: Political Reporters Lack 'Fire[water] in the Belly'

(2008-01-02) — Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson today questioned whether political reporters covering the race for the White House have enough ambition for the job.

“Most of these journalists seem to lack what you might call fire in the belly,” said the former Tennessee senator.

Bissage said...

Booze has forever been the mother’s milk of great newsmen and Mr. Shafer is right to sound the alarm, for dark forces are at work to destroy the Fourth Estate.

Think I’m exaggerating? Their nefarious tentacles reach all the way to the Kansas State Historical Society! How better to explain why its tribute to Lou Grant’s Desk says nothing whatsoever about that bottle of booze he kept in the bottom drawer?

When the booze cops came for the fictitious newsmen,
I remained silent;
I was not a fictitious newsman.

titus08 said...

Who was the new york times writer who died in October 2006. He wrote about politics, wine, and food-he was really cool. He had a funny name-Happy or something like that?

I think those old time reporters were kind of cool.

The ones today are gross, except David Shuster-I would do him. Oh and Anderson Cooper-nat.

titus08 said...

Although, I bet Anderson is a real bummer in bed. I could see him being all don't mess up my hair, don't tell Us magazine, don't do this, don't do that.

He would definitely be a bossy bottom.

UW grad 90 said...

Was anyone else struck by the fact that he stressed in the article that the bottle of scotch he kept in his desk was purposefully left unopened? What a weenie! He is emasculating his thesis. Take a sip or shut the hell up I says!

rhhardin said...

It's unprofessional because booze is the consequence of hard-bitten journalistic cynicism, which is out of place in today's fuzzy infantilized product.

His Girl Friday reference.

MadisonMan said...

Titus: R W Apple.

reader_iam said...

Amazing what you can learn, hanging out in bars.

reader_iam said...

Also, sorry to say it, diners.

Roger said...

to riff on MM's correct identification of the NYT guy: RW "Johnny" Apple.

jeyne said...

There once was a man who wrote hard news
Who found inspiration in bottles of booze
But too much single malt Scotch
Led to chronic factual botch
Oh well, he's either straight or gay, that Mr. Cruise

jeyne said...

"Deny the journalist his self-image as a rule-bending individualist and you might as well replace him with a typist"

unless, as a typist, he hunts-and-pecks his stories in the greatest of he-man journo-hero tradition. Cliche but virile, eh?

titus08 said...

Yes, Johnny Apple, he was cool.

Although, he did write for the NY Times so I guess that meant he was a commie, unfortunately. Still liked the guy.

Hi Althouse, how they hanging?