Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Vapid Year in Journalism

Salon slams Politico for its Top 10 political scoops. Oh what fun it is to ride! Salon is right. What a vapid year. Sure wish the media could have informed us of the impending meltdown. Wasn't it Judith Miller of the NYT who told us Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?

Salon, which writes a lot of long-form, investigative and thoughtful pieces, must feel out in the cold. The dying media hasn't yet realized that it, too, needs to rejuvenate and renew the focus that it once held of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted. But it can't do that without proper funding.

We'll probably live without quality journalism for a while, which will eventually lead to demand and then some new model of journalism will spring up to fill the void.

Salon's sarcastic swat:
Salon: Politico's media reporter, Michael Calderone, does an unintentionally superb job of conveying the vapid, wretched soul of the American political media, with his list of what he calls -- without any irony at all -- "The Top Ten Political Scoops of 2008":
(1) Katie Couric's interview of Sarah Palin (CBS)
(2) McCain can't say how many homes he owns (Politico)
(3) Obama's "bitter" comment (Huffington Post)
(4) Sarah Palin's shopping spree (Politico)
(5) Turmoil in the Clinton camp (Washington Post and Atlantic -- "The behind-the-scenes tension was captured by the reporters in one memorable exchange: '[Expletive] you!' Ickes shouted. '[Expletive] you!' Penn replied. '[Expletive] you!' Ickes shouted again.")
(6) Jeremiah Wright tapes (ABC News)
(7) The Pentagon's military analyst program (NY Times)
(8) Bickering in the McCain camp (NY Times Magazine)
(9) John Edwards' affair (National Enquirer)
(10) Powell endorses Obama (Meet the Press)
Indeed. For a politically engaged person, it is truly difficult to conceive of how any year could ever be more satisfying than one marked by riveting scandals over shopping sprees, bickering among campaign operatives, and an extramarital affair of someone who, at the time of disclosure, held no political office and was running for absolutely nothing. Anyone surveying this mountain-high pile of Pulitzer-worthy investigations can do nothing more than echo the observation of Newsweek's legendary Senior White House Correspondent, Richard Wolffe, who famously gushed: "the press here does a fantastic job of adhering to journalistic standards and covering politics in general." Who could review Calderone's glorious list of the year's top "scoops" and disagree with that?
In fairness to Calderone and his comrades in the political press, our media currently covers a country that has very few substantial problems and an administration that is renowned around the world for being competent, honest, conventional and quite uncontroversial.