Monday, June 13, 2005

These are dark, dark times

Forty percent of Americans think Bill O'Reilly is a journalist; 27 percent believe Rush Limbaugh is one.

In the poll taken before the Deep Throat revelation, only 30 percent said they considered Bob Woodward a journalist. What the heck did they think he was, a game show host?

As for O'Reilly and Limbaugh...I have pretty much the same thing to say about them as I did about Pat Buchanan last week.

5 comments:

Jack Mercer said...

Ha! You crack me up, Kathy!

Looking at it objectively though, Bob Woodward is as much a journalist as Bill and Rush.

Take care!

-Jack

Kathy Schrenk said...

That is truly an amazing statement, Jack. I would like to hear what your definition of "journalist" is.

Merriam Webster defines a journalist as "one who engages in journalism," and defines journalism thusly:

1 a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b : the public press c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
2 a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

If 2c is your definition of "journalism," then O'Reilly and Limbaugh are more journalists than Woodward. However, I would define journalism under 2b, calling Woodward a journalist and the other two pundits, as defined in definition 3 by M-W.com:

1 : PANDIT
2 : a learned man : TEACHER
3 : one who gives opinions in an authoritative manner : CRITIC
- pun·dit·ry /-d&-trE/ noun

Toad734 said...

Didnt Oreilly used to host Entertainment Tonight or some lame shit like that?

Peter Schrenk said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Peter Schrenk said...

Well, according to 2b, we shouldn't call Paul Krugman a journalist either. Dan Rather blurred the line for years, and the LA Times editors are suspect. I won't even go into Reuters here. On a side note, I wonder what percentage of people would respond that Michael Moore is a journalist...

I think the more important point is that the ideal of the objective journalist is impossible. No matter how hard you try, total objectivity is impossible. The idea that Dan Rather spoke about recently (sorry, no link) regarding journalists bringing the "truth" to people is dangerous and misguided. Journalists often fall into the trap of reporting the truth instead of reporting the facts. The difference to me is that the truth includes conclusions and assumptions that the journalist believes to be true rather than only including the facts at hand. This explains the idiotic "fake-but-true" response some people had to the Rather/Mapes Memogate story. It didn't matter that the memos were 100% guaranteed forgeries; people believed the content was true, and that was all that mattered to them.