How’s that, Howell?

How’s that, Howell?: A juicy bit of irony noted from the Financial Times [via IWantMedia]:

What is the biggest threat to American journalism?

Howell Raines, the deposed (he prefers “retired”) executive editor of The New York Times, has an answer: the Brits.

More specifically, it is the influence of the “British model” of journalism, “where the politics of the paper are thought to change the way information is presented”. Mr Raines sees this happening in America’s tabloid newspapers and television.

(Of course, a common rap against Mr Raines was that he carried out crusades in the Times’ news coverage.)

I’m surprised Andrew Sullivan hasn’t taken the opportunity to slap Howell around once more, for old times’ sake. (Though perhaps because he’s writing for the Times again, he’s gunshy.)

: And Raines has it exactly wrong, of course, for this shows that he’s not paying attention to the audience he was trying to serve. Said it before, I’ll say it again: The moral of the FoxNews story is that we, the citizenry, like opinion, are not scared of opinion, and are smart enough to separate opinion from fact — and we appreciate the honesty (and resulting credibility) of media that reveal their perspectives and prejudices. They is why it’s big on radio. That is why weblogs are clicking with their audiences.

Opinion is in, Howell. If you’d seen that, if you’d admitted it, if you’d gone with that flow, if you’d said that you were, in fact, bringing the British model to America (which is what you were doing, without admitting it), you might be seen as a pioneer; you might not be unemployed (er, retired).

  • http://www.blogads.com henry copeland

    Somehow your text is all bold now. Has some tag not been closed out? Or are you trying out a new tone? Hurts my aging eyes. :)
    [ fixed. the elusive bold tag – jeff ]

  • John

    Opinion is in, Howell. If you’d seen that, if you’d admitted it, if you’d gone with that flow, if you’d said that you were, in fact, bringing the British model to America (which is what you were doing, without admitting it), you might be seen as a pioneer; you might not be unemployed (er, retired).
    If Howell had hung on, he probably would have further brough the British model to America by hiring Andrew Gilligan. Then he’d be on extended sabbatical.

  • http://mithras.blogs.com Mithras

    More disclosure of opinion (and hence bias) is a good thing. It frees up the writer to express their thoughts and lets the reader know where the potential pitfalls are. But I don’t understand this seeming antipathy for down-the-middle journalism. That’s how little things called facts are uncovered, you know. And facts are the grist for blogs.
    And I don’t understand the praise for Fox. Their tendency is to obscure their bias through the “fair and balanced” slogan. They deny they’re conservative! Come on – no one who is rational can watch Fox and believe they aren’t conservative and actively shilling for the Republicans. Is that what news should be?

  • John Plato

    are smart enough to separate opinion from fact
    Statistics would seem to disagree. Fox News watchers are least able to differentiate spin from reality, and have the highest percentage of misinformed viewers according to the University of Maryland, which conducted that infamous study you surely heard about recently, unless you watch Fox News.

  • CGeib

    John Plato,
    Uh yuck, uh yuck, I are one of those igorant Fox News wagghers, and I heerd about that thar study. Ahm shure it was like that thar study in Burkly whar Consarvtives was carnfused and eesily led. Maybuh youans are won of them thar fisitacated libeerals that think Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson agtually wanna solve race problems.