November 12, 2009

Where Was The Press?

Sean Hannity apologized for his show’s poor editing of a story that lead to a misrepresentation of the facts. The misrepresentation was pointed out by Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.

My questions: Where was the press? Why is Jon Stewart doing journalism’s job?

I’ve heard a lot of people bristle at the claim that Jon Stewart is a journalist. Count me in the camp that says he is not. But he is alone in doing one important job of journalism: Keeping tabs on the ethics of news organizations.

(I do not count publications such as the Columbia Journalism Review because they are not news organizations. But CJR does do excellent work in keeping tabs on media ethics.)

This amounts to nothing less than an epic fail.

5 Responses

  1. Silas Grey 

    I agree, Jon Stewart is not a journalist. I’m sure he’d be the first one to agree with us on that. But with the press caring more about looking good than doing their job someone has to step into the gap.

    I wonder if the press is afraid that if they investigate another news organization then their own reports will be similarly critiqued, which they’re not sure if they are clean enough to live through.

    Liars don’t like to question other peoples lies lest they be found out themselves.

  2. Tim 

    Can you can the flu from visiting a blog?

    No, Jon Stewart is not a journalist, but he does “regularly report on errors and fabrications in the news” (the central theme of the Mongerson Prize that was discontinued in 2006).

    It’s not just keeping tabs on the ethics of news organizations. It’s the killing of the National News Council, the lack of ombuds, and “accountability journalism” never meaning holding journalists accountable.

  3. Silas… I think you’re right that part of it is that news orgs don’t want to face the criticism of other news orgs.

    Tim… I try to sneeze away from the screen 🙂

    And, yes, I think journalism has a lot to answer for re: the national News Council and the shockingly low number of ombudsmen.

  4. guy 

    So do you actually watch anything but The Daily Show? You seem to have a crush on him

  5. acline 

    Guy… Your powers of close reading are astounding! And here I thought I was hiding it in the subtexts 🙂