Posts from January 20, 2005
Hot Air America
: Against the predictions of skeptics, including me, Air America is expanding. It’s now in 45 markets. And I’m glad for it since I’m now (warning: plug coming) on Morning Sedition Mondays at 8:30 to blather on media. (Nondisclosure: I don’t get paid; I don’t even get a friggin’ hat so there’s no financial relationship to disclose.)
Shame on The Times, Chapter III
Sarah Boxer (firstname.lastname@example.org) in her latest piece on the NYT tried hard to put together some rotten limbs to produce a creature that satisfies her fantasy but she ended up introducing a new mutant to the readers and to the methods of journalism. It wasn’t a surprise for me as it was just another reproduction of the old ways of the corrupt side of the MSM in dealing with facts and events.
One short look at the “article” shows how na
Hail to the…
: It’s remarkable what a nonevent the inauguration is. The Golden Globes is less staged. That’s not a political statement; it’s true of inaugurations of both parties. It is a formality. And we Americans do not rest on formality. We don’t have queens and coronations and May Days and national parades. Oh, sure, we should have the ceremony. But I think it would be far better if they’d just go and produce it for TV; make it an event of the nation, not of Washington.
What this means on a practical level is incredibly insipid TV. On FoxNews this morning, they kept interrupting the discussion to follow Bush et al walking into and out of the church service. Yes, he can walk. Well, I suppose in the age of The West Wing, that is news. They got all excited on Fox when Bush got near enough a mike to say something. “We got a ‘good morning’,” the anchor said. We got sound!
On CNN, Paula Zahn agreed that this is a “majestic day.” I’d say the word is cold.
Fox reporters Blackberried notes on the sermon this morning out to the anchor desk. They read it as it arrived: The minister told Bush to unite red and blue and said that we are all one nation: “black, brown, gay, straight.” Bravo, Rev. But it’s not going to make any difference.
Most of the day will look like a slo-mo TiVo view of an LA police chase. They drive here. They walk there.
Oh, breaking news: Wolf tells us that Bush is riding in a new presidential limo. It still has that four-more-years smell.
I’m not being cynical. Really, I’m not. Our form of government is the best there is. The transfer or continuation of power is our best accomplishment.
But this is all style, no substance.
: LATER: I’m watching Dan Rather’s coverage. He keeps coming back again and again to his speculation that there are often scandals in second administrations. Bob Shieffer says uncomfortably, “Well, I don’t think anybody’s going to jail.” Dan doesn’t drop it. “Second terms of presidencies are marked by scandal… Those kinds of things have a way of developing in a second term. Are the Bush people worried about that?” he asks colleague Roberts. Oh, sure, Dan, the administration’s spokesman are going to go into the confessional and fret about misbehaving. The big problem with Rather is not bias. It’s foolishness. Always has been.
: RANDOM STUPID MOMENTS: Larry King “interviewing” Oscar de la Renta on inaugural fashion. Old fart on old farts about old farts.
Larry says at 10p that it’s past the Command in Chief’s bedtime.
Now Bush and his wife dance with soldiers, he with a she and she with a he. It is the most awkward moment I’ve seen since my seventh grade dance.
: Stupid Fox line from Hannity & Colmes: “Laura Bush, what an asset.”
Ethics meet ethics
: Some of us have been looking at this ethics question the wrong way: The starting point is not to impose a code of ethics on a medium but instead to understand the ethic of the medium — and its community — as it exists: What are bloggers already telling us about their ethic?
I sat down last night and started trying to list what I think is the ethic of blogging and the ethic of journalism. It was a lot easier to come up with the list for blogging. And, no, that’s not a snarky straight line; it probably just means that the ethic of blogging is newer and still clear, less muddied by time and mistakes and seminars … or that I feel greater affinity to this new medium; my transformation from mediaman to blogboy is complete.
Note very importantly that I believe old media has more to learn about these ethics than new media has to learn from old.
Let’s start with the bloggers’ ethic. This is repetitive in places; if I were writing a mission statement, I’d consolidate points. But instead, I’m trying to capture a catalogue. And please join in with comments, additions, deletions and tell me whether I’m on the right track here:
: The ethic of transparency: We believe that our public deserves to know about us and our perspective to better judge what we say.
: The ethic of conversation: We do not believe in one-sided lectures. We believe conversation leads to better understanding.
: The ethic of humanity: We believe this medium lives at a human level while old media lives at an institutional level.
: The ethic of the link: We believe one of our key jobs is to link our public to other voices and to source material so they may judge themselves.
: The ethic of correction: We believe it is vital to correct errors quickly and openly.
: The ethic of immediacy: We believe that the fast spread of information is will yield better information.
Now turn to the ethics of journalism. Dan Gillmor has a good list:
I think that’s a good list. But it’s a different list. Note importantly that Dan did not include Objectivity; he says it’s time to give up on that pipe dream and I think he’s right so long as the other ethics are followed. In an email exchange with Dan, Bill Mitchell, a participant in tomorrow’s confab, adds one more:
: Ernie Miller in the comments says correctly that it is all about the ethic of honesty.
: Also in the comments, Andrew Tyndall adds service and accountability to the list for journalism.