Media: Neutral or Neutered?
A damned good point on the Daily Kos today:
"There's been some inspiring reporting coming out of the shattered towns of Louisiana and Mississippi -- reporters showing their humanity on their sleeves, reporters not afraid to ask the impertinent but possibly live-saving questions, reporters more than willing to call out politicians on live camera when they spin away from or flatly lie on known facts. It's been shocking to see, and a credit to them and their industry.
But why is that the exception? Why does it take day after day of reporting on struggles for food, struggles for water, searches for loved ones, searches that ended badly, and a lake full of bodies to wear a reporter down to the point where their voice shakes, their hands tremble, and they call out the officials who are lying to them right there, on the air, and make sure the whole world knows the actual truth?
Shouldn't that be the default position of any journalist actually doing their job? Shouldn't the search for the truth, and the outrage at the lie, be the very basis of actual reporting? Why should it take that momentary loss of control, that sudden spark of anger caused by unimaginable disaster, to get to that point of brilliance and duty?
How have we come to this point, where neutrality of journalism meant neutrality to the truth itself, meant reporting fact and lie alongside each other, in equivalence, without emotion, without remorse? Where reporting that an official has flatly lied is not even considered, by the top reporters of the top news outlets in this country, unless you one of those few reporters knee-deep in a swirling eddy that contains the disintegrated remnants of a hundred thousand families, and of ten thousand lives?
Will there be a point, as a result of this crisis of nature, man and government, where this smell, this stink of loss combined with the acrid scent of government bluster and feint, will settle in the nostrils of the journalists even far from the scene in Washington, and they will carry forward with something resembling the integrity they once all claimed, in better times, to have?"