June 29, 2011

"Journalism has become a form of litigation."

"It's not about finding the truth; it's about advocating theories and presenting facts in a way that ensures that one 'side' wins."


SGT Ted said...

No, not litigation. It has become activism.

Seven Machos said...

It's always, always been this way. I seriously urge you all to read Perjury by Allen Weinstein to get a sense of how this exact same thing was going on in 1950. Further, by all accounts, this is how journalism was prior to the brief period in the mid-20th Century were able to control media and make it appear that there was objectivity.

Objectivity comes out of the debate. This cacophony of opinions is the midwife of objectivity.

The Crack Emcee said...

I guess that answers my question.

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Well, sure. Especially when those facts contradict your worldview and challenge your political ideology, right, "Irene"?

Irene said...

ZPS, why the quotes? That's my real name.

I'm pretty open minded and easily persuaded, so no need to worry about facts that contradict my political ideology. This comparison is close to the idea.

Patrick said...

Two really bad things happened to the news media in the 20th century. First, they started requiring college degrees for reporters, usually in journalism. Second, Watergate made superstars out of Woodward and Bernstein, and a whole bunch of reporters wanted to follow suit and change the world, rather than simply report.

Not to say W & B shouldn't have followed up, or that they shouldn't have pursued the story, it's just that it helped "change" become the goal of journalist, rather than "reporting.

Carol_Herman said...

Back in the old days, you couldn't sell your papers, if you couldn't do headlines that captured a person, right off the bat, to spend a penny. Or two cents.

Mark Twain said it was the telephone that improved America's papers. So that it was no longer just in big cities. He said, all over the place ... and for some reason he uses New Orleans as his complementary gem ... That with newsrooms connected via telephone ... real literature entered American journalism.

Well, it kept on going. And, found the exit, too, I suppose.

While people still want to know WHAT, WHERE, HOW and WHEN ... you're coming from. Opinions don't give you these facts. That's why PRADA never developed anything worth reading. (If you're russian you're stuck with Tolstoy. Instead.)

Meanwhile, people love a good mystery. When Monica's story was "killed" by newsweak, and Drudge picked it up. It proved the editors of Issakoff through away a Pulitzer.

And, that's where we are now.

None of the journalists work for companies that pay them to go out and seek a Pulitzer for their reporting skills.

This has left the journalism school wide open to Soros' money. He buys schlock. But he pays money for this.

You mean it's ruined journalism? You bet! While every single day they bypass the story ... which should be told ... Of what getting a phone call from Soros must sound like.

I presume he just sounds like a dirty old man. With heavy breathing. The type of call where I'd hang up right away. But my mom would have blown her whistle, first.

Today? We have Caller ID.

Technology advances by giving people what they want.

Seven Machos said...

Hey, look! It's "Zachary Paul Sire," everybody!

As usual, he has nothing of "substance" to offer.


Brian O'Connell said...

I'm not a fan of hers, but the press euphoria over the Bachmann / John Wayne Gacy thing was a bit astonishing. This after the non-story of Obama's medal of honor screw-up. I know, I should be past this already. Yet I keep getting surprised at how low they can go.

A commenter somewhere summed it up: Journalism is dead.

Lamar63 said...

There is a long history of advocacy journalism. Journalist used to be open about their positions. In the 1800s papers tended to be called "such and such Democrat or Republican". Then the turn of the century there was yellow journalism (Pulitzer, Hurst).

After that papers tried to be objective. Or at least said they were being objective. But look at NYT Duranty (?) he was clearly protecting Stalin from disclosure of his crimes.

Now we have the Internet and everyone can be their own fact checker. It is impossible to hide bias. I think there is a huge market for an Internet based newspaper that strives to be as objective as possible.

edutcher said...

Trial By Newspaper goes back to the 19th Century.

And "crusading" newspapermen may have been a little more worried about facts in them days, but they also knew how to present them in a way that maximum effect on the object of their scorn was achieved.

Sort of like what Irene meant.

BT said...

When I was a kid you had Huntley & Brinkley, Cronkite, etc as national news men on tv. What I wonder is how much they knew about JFK that they choose not to report. I saw Ben Bradley say that they knew nothing. Given all of the crap that has come out about JFK in the last 40+ years even if half of it were true, I have a hard time believing that the Ben Bradleys of the world didn't have front row seats and just chose to shut up. They didn't play that game when Nixon was around did they?

Curious George said...

"has become"? Laughable. It's just that with the internet it is exposed for the fraud it is. Used to be that evidence the "facts" were gone immediately...thrown in the garbage for newspapers and TV and radio off into oblivion. Now everything is "checkable" by everyone. The responsibility has shifted from the provider of information to the consumer of information.

traditionalguy said...

Newsreels and J. Edgar Hoover were pioneers in this type of journalism as entertainment. It feeds the public daily facts that the State wants to see believed as if the State is made up of heroic and innocent men. ( Also see, the Lindbergh kidnapping case).

AllenS said...

What you've seen lately with Lueders, the other character, and today with Emily, is the Wisconsin Edition of Journolist. They have a story to tell, and they'll make up anything to get their story out there. Don't think for one minute, Professor, that you'll change their thought concepts by pointing out how weak their ideas are.

Paul Zrimsek said...

The topic of having one's worldview challenged by facts is one to which Zachary Paul "Southerners are too racist to ever vote for Obama" Sire brings a certain level of personal expertise.

Lem said...

Irene nails it.

gerry said...

None of the journalists work for companies that pay them to go out and seek a Pulitzer for their reporting skills.

Oh, you mean like the New York Times and Walter Duranty?

chuckR said...

There is an interesting historical account of a stolen Presidential election. No, not that one. Fraud of the Century, Rutherford B Hayes, Samuel Tilden and the Stolen Election of 1876. The New York Times was in the action up to its yellow journalistic neck - on the side of the Republican, Hayes, who had actually lost the election, both popular and electoral votes. Still, there never was a President Tilden.

Things journalistic are now as they always were.

t-man said...

Lamar -

You are right, but there were competing newspapers offering differing voices and positions. The short era of the single objective (read liberal) newspaper town did a lot of damage. Many people believed (and still believe) that news reports are objective, and the "objective" model became the template for broadcast news.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Journalism = litigation. That comment in the earlier thread nailed it.

The object is to win, but to disguise the poisoned yawp as 'information' which the public will use with confidence in its exercise of democratic governance.

Not for nothing does public radio use the phrase 'news and information'. They are actually two separate items, many times at cross purposes.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Now we have the Internet and everyone can be their own fact checker.

That's why the tactic of racing to post half-truth slanders such as Leuders' has become so effective.

Yes, the truth will emerge, but meanwhile the slander has circled the world three times, imprinting the faithful, while a stodgy old minority goes rooting about the Internet furrowing its brow over the full story. By the time the truth is announced, the imprinting has made the slander an article of unchallengeable faith in public opinion.

nevadabob said...

"Journalism has become a form of litigation."

What you are seeing in Madison isn't journalism.

The only people practicing journalism has been the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which has successfully reported both sides of the incident and uncovered the fact that Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices are covertly conspiring with George Soros to unethically undermine the authority and impartiality of the Wisconsin Supreme Court and Judge Prosser.

The yellow journalism being practiced by Soros' Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (bullshit) is the best kind of litigation for the liberals of Madison too, since none of their sources need ever be identified and none of their sources need ever be Mirandized and none of their sources need ever be put under oath when they give their "testimony."

It's the best kind of litigation for the liberals of Madison, Wisconsin because George Soros has bought and paid for the jury and sits himself as the hanging judge.

Bring on the cases!

You should be ashamed to live in Madison, Wisconsin, Ann.

You have no journalists there and that's why your town is the laughingstock of the country.

Hagar said...

I believe Lenin called it "agit-prop."

Almost that long ago John Dewey said something like, "Give me the children of a generation, and I will change the world!"
Well, nobody voted to give Mr. Dewey their children, but the quip had "resonance" in the "educational community," and they went to work with a will.
And in colleges of journalism - or "communications" these days - every graduating class have been told they are the last best hope of Civilization and exhorted to go forth to spread the gospel and save the world.

So, what did you expect would happen?

Carol_Herman said...

You know, not really.

If you want to get out of jury duty, while you're sitting in an American courtroom. You can always say you read about the case in the local papers. And, BINGO. You're discharged on the spot and you can go home.

In some courts that frees you to leave. You just go to the juror's intake room, with the form you've been dismissed. And, you can't be summoned back for a year.

If you think you won't be asked if you've read a newspaper, then you could always carry the newspaper under your arm. Like Mort Sahl did. He could turn a newspaper into a riff. That had audiences rolling on the floor, laughing.

"Litigious" ... also means you'd be foolish to pay a lawyer, if you could find one who would take your case "on contingency."

In this way you could shop around.

Some lawyers LOVE seeing themselves in print. They were their best suits! And, they smile when they see a camera.

Today, of course, everyone carries around a camera. And, it's getting so ... that taking pictures could be considered a "crime." Even if the policeman's charge doesn't hold up in court.

It's enough to ruin someone's day.

No wonder journalists prefer just sitting in bars. Hoping they'll quote something they get to overhear.

Oh, yeah.

What with Prosser still keeping his seat for the duration of the Supreme Court's term. And, then, he gets sworn in, again, on August 1st. All the "journalistic" claims that he's being forced to resign, are UNTRUE.

Suing isn't gonna change this. Unless Soros can sue to get his money back.

Carol_Herman said...

Gee, is it such a hard call to pick journalism school, over law school?

If you pick journalism school, at least your debt ends when you get your BA. Law school costs more. And, then you're forced to remember Latin phrases.

If a lawyer then parlays his cards correctly, he gets better seating in restaurants.

From Inwood said...

OK, none of us commenting here have "just the facts, M'am". Or the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth.

But do the reporters?

Does anybody get to say that a reporter’s version of "the facts" brings up some obvious challenges?

Over on Volohk, some commenter said (I paraphrase) that never before have so few facts owed so much to so many speculating lawyers.

But if lawyers remain silent here, then it's: never before have so few facts owed so much to so many speculating partisan hack journalists proclaiming one side's evil & another side's goodness.

I would say that for the MSM it's always pre-Rathergate, where never before were so few bloggers able to produce so much evidence & commonsense against so many MSM thought-free MSM folks that the MSM could only engage in hissy fits & personal attacks.

Another Volohk commenter asked (again paraphrase): Is any Prosser supporter now an anti-Prosser guy or any Klopenberg supporter now a pro-Prosser guy?

Er, put me down as a pro-truth guy.

Keep up your good work, your probing questions, your search for the truth, & rejection of “facts” which don’t pass the “Hee Haw” test, Prof A.

BTW, what should someone like Prof A do? Sit silent & let the robotic reporters control “The Narrative”?

AJ Lynch said...

Irene is 100% correctimundo! Here is what a reporter wrote in a news article in today's morning paper about the city schools:

"The Center City parent's concerns were ratcheted up this spring by the draconian budget cuts and financial brinkmanship that threatened full-day kindergarten in the Philadelphia School District and still threatens class size, extracurricular offerings, summer school, and security, among other educational mainstays."

Note the words the reporter uses to describe a school district that still spends more than $15,000 per student:.."draconian....cuts...brinkmanship..threatened....still threatens...other mainstays".

Lem said...

Rush is back.

I'm guessing he will mention 'choke-gate' today.

nevadabob said...

"OK, none of us commenting here have "just the facts, M'am". Or the truth, the whole truth & nothing but the truth. But do the reporters?"

The problem is that the reporters don't WANT the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The "reporters" are Soros-paid political activists working hand-in-hand with the unethical justices in a conspiracy to undermine the court and frame Judge Prosser in order to tip the balance of power on the court.

The balance of power on the court. That's what they're after. POWER! They want to steal what they couldn't earn at the ballot box. They're THIEVES.

They aren't looking for truth. They're looking to slime Prosser any way they can by using innuendo, unnamed "sources" that probably don't even exist or if they do exist are guilty of unethical judicial conduct.

Bill Leuders committed libel against Judge Prosser and he did so with malice aforethought. He deliberately hid facts (he couldn't even say what day the "attack" occurred) and then refused to talk with everyone in the room because he knew some people in the room would support Judge Prosser.

Selective choice of sources; hiding their names to protect their unethical behavior; secret payments by George Soros ... it's obvious a conspiracy to frame Judge Prosser is ongoing.

He is in great danger. If he's smart, he will guarantee he's never in a room alone with any of these "judges" and always has a witness he trusts available to testify for him about his interactions with other members of the court.

They're clearly out to get him and will clearly stop at nothing to do it.

Scott said...

1. In the United States, journalism can never become a profession because the First Amendment bars the creation of a group of people who have greater free speech rights than the general public. Here, you are a journalist if you say you are. Calling something a "center for investigative journalism" is just a form of political posturing that plays well to the uninformed.

2. When are self-styled progressives going to finally realize that there is a huge stigma associated with accepting George Soros money? It instantly marks an organization as a purveyor of cheap, untrustworthy partisan garbage.

Amartel said...

Journalists shaping the news to advocate for a particular issue. Well, DUH.
Still, how rude of them to make it difficult for Trooper to claim that the only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.
At least a lawyer has to pass a test. (Except in WI, apparently.)

Jim said...

Nowhere is this more true than at Fox "News".

Seven Machos said...

Yeah Jim. And C"NN" dude. Astute.

Trooper York said...

The only thing worse than a journalist is a lawyer.

ndspinelli said...

It's all a part of the Lawyerization of our culture. Close all law schools for 10 years.

Chuck66 said...

Think about the Palin emails. MSM demanded to get every email she sent or recieved as Governor. So they could go through each one and find a "gotcha" email.

MSM mad asses of themselves with this.

Minnesota. MSM is attacking Congresswoman Bachmann over the 23 foster children she and her husband took in. Rumor out there is that Big Media is trying to find any records related to these 23 kids, or even try to track them down to find a "gotcha" moment.

The 23 foster children have always been a sore spot with the left as it doesn't fit their narrative about the Congresswoman.

Seeing Red said...

HEHEHEHE love it

1-3 million off the 300 million +++ reservation and

call in the calvary.

We must be sent to re-education camps.

Must maintain status quo.

It's sooo old, but still amusing.

From Inwood said...


The traditional ruling class in Wisconsin is seeing it all fall apart, and they’re coming apart with it. The result is not pretty, but it is instructive.

rashomon said...

Of course, the real story is the polarization of the court, and the degree of unprofessional behavior of the three jurists. Bradley and Prosser don't look good here, but Abrahamson perhaps looks worse, if she were the source of the leak. But barring a videotape or very detailed sworn testimony of everyone who was present at the incident, we may never know exactly what happened.

It sounds as if Bradley may have heatedly intruded into Prosser's space, in a way another man probably wouldn't have done -- a man would have realized how challenging such behavior was; women are trained that the vast majority of men won't respond to such provocation. But Prosser was an idiot for touching her, even if the action doesn't rise to assault. After all, Bradley and Abrahamson were earlier playing the victim card over name-calling.

All three should go. I'm sure Walker could find suitable replacements.

Paddy O said...

"Journalism in Tennessee" by Mark Twain

Scott M said...

It sounds as if Bradley may have heatedly intruded into Prosser's space, in a way another man probably wouldn't have done -- a man would have realized how challenging such behavior was; women are trained that the vast majority of men won't respond to such provocation.

Assuming for the moment that her fists weren't raised; that she just stepped right into his bubble under the above assumption, the best thing he could have done is to respond in kind. To lean forward until only a sliver of daylight is left between their noses, and ask politely for her to back up.

That...or a full on-the-lips smootch a la Bugs Bunny.

Mark O said...

Litigation? Well, without rules of admissibility, without cross-examination, without the penalty of perjury, without consequence.

Probably not like litigation.

More like politics.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Access has its price, usually the cost is any semblance of objectivity.

"All successful newspapers are ceaselessly querulous and bellicose. They never defend anyone or anything if they can help it; if the job is forced on them, they tackle it by denouncing someone or something else." - H.L. Mencken

ET1492 said...

I don't expect journalists to be objective. I expect them to be honest and accurate.

Squid said...

2. When are self-styled progressives going to finally realize that there is a huge stigma associated with accepting George Soros money?

Consider instead that these people know exactly what their reputation is worth, and Uncle George is paying more than that.

Don't Tread 2012 said...


"I don't expect journalists to be objective. I expect them to be honest and accurate."


Seems we do have some very honest journalists now. Many times, too honest, which is where they reveal their bias.

Assuming it were possible for a 'journalist' to separate bias/personality from individual reportage, all that would be left would be the when, where, how, why, who - the basic facts.

Accuracy is always in question. You can be accurate without being biased, but you are at the mercy of the bias of those that you interview.

I had a journalism professor that would often say, and would admit to being only 50% serious, 'never let the facts get in the way of a good story'.

So really, journalism is storytelling with no guarantee of basis in fact.

Dan in Philly said...

Replace "Has become" with "Has always been" and you've got a more accurate statement.

SunnyJ said...

Research when the WH and Press first formed the group to bring in leaders in media to be schooled on policy to present to the public?

Under which President did the happy Press Dinner start, which brought the President in to make friends with the press?

Progressive philosophy requires manipulation of message through propaganda (given a bad name by Hitler's hit man Goebles) and changed to PR (Public Relations)by Freud and his Associate studying behavioral science.

I went to the article by B Weneke linked from the Professor's post, and asked him why he did not disclose his relationship with Leuders, the Wis Center for Invest Journalism/Soros and received the non-answer: "George Soros? I must be getting messages from another planet". I responded could be, still need to answer the questions.

There has been a long battle for the hearts and minds of the people since the 1930's at minimum. This is just another awakening brought on by the election of the most Progressive/Social Justice President since Wilson.

Phil 3:14 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil 3:14 said...

Journalism has become a form of litigation.

Uh, that memo went out quite some time ago.

The Crack Emcee said...

Journalism has become a form of litigation.

Yeah, but for what?