…Don’t get me wrong journalism can, and hopefully will, be revived. And of course it has been “brain-dead” for quite a while, but yesterday made transparently plain that journalism is dead. Oh sure, the Internet age has brought us plenty of false rumors that flew around with the speed of light, but yesterday the biggest bombshell of them all came and went in a single news cycle. From Donald Trump is Nixon/Clinton to “oops” in 24 hours.
We don’t know what happened and given that it is up to so-called “journalism” to figure out what happened we probably never will. I am sure Buzzfeed will claim either 1) the fix is in with Team Mueller or 2) they were victimized by rogue, and still unnamed, agents. BTW, if they claim the latter they better d*^$ well turn the names over to the FBI. Some agents need to lose their job. If they claim the former they clearly do not know the first rule of holes. If Buzzfeed is not out of business in a month (the few decent people there better be headed for the doors already) my fear for the future of this nation will ratchet up several notches.
And as for the rest of media, just please. The problem is not that the story was repeated and repeated and repeated. The problem is that with the exception of conservative opinion outlets it was repeated without any reserve, qualification or prudence. Time, and the sheer rapidity with which this thing unfolded, did not permit me to write a decent piece yesterday but I started one. Here’s part of what I drafted:
two words – “hearsay” and “unnamed sources.” The unnamed sources are “two federal law enforcement officials.” One could be Peter Strzok for pity-fied-sakes. We know parts of federal law enforcement are deeply compromised when it comes to the current president. Moreover, if you know anything about evidence, “somebody told me that so-and-so said” is not evidence. “I heard so-and-so say” is evidence, but that is as far as it goes.
Further, this is Buzzfeed. As Geraghty said, “And of course, this is BuzzFeed, who ran the Fusion GPS dossier making unsavory claims about Trump.”
As Rudy Guliani said, “Michael Cohen is a convicted criminal and a liar.’
In other words, this thing stunk like a fresh roadkill skunk from the moment it came out. But, save for the previously noted exceptions, this story moved like a L.A. brushfire in Santa Ana winds.
There are a lot of good people out there trying to be good journalists and inform the American people, but they are practicing a dead art. I am not a professional journalist, I am just a guy who an actual professional journalist thinks is worth reading from time-to-time, so I will leave ideas about how to revive journalism up to the pros.
What I do know is this – the American appetite for what currently passes as “journalism” seems to be immense. Therefore I think we have going to have to live with some sort of zombie version of journalism for a while. The American people better get smart about how to tell news from nonsense pretty quickly.
Yesterday, the host had an interesting conversation with Jake Sherman about what constitutes a national crisis. (Behind the Hughniverse paywall) My two cents in that discussion are simple – The shutdown and tit-for-tat between Trump and Pelosi do not constitute a national crisis, just ugly politics. Zombie journalism may prove to be the biggest crisis the nation has ever faced.
Addendum: This thing, sadly is not dead. That which has been heard cannot be unheard. As the lawyers like to say, “the bell has rung.” This will come up when Cohen testifies in front of Congress. Such will prove only one thing – that Democrats are in it for their own power and self-aggrandizement – not for the good of the nation. May need to add a few more notches to the “fear for the future” meter.