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October 10, 2005

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (New York Times/Jodi Wilgoren Edition)

Jodi Wilgoren illustrates why one has to give more credence to the average person you see on the street than to the average New York Times reporter. The average person you see on the street--even those claiming that Henry Kissinger is the lover of the Queen of England--has thought about what the truth of the matter is, and is trying hard to communicate that truth to you. They are speaking in good faith. Jodi Wilgoren, by contrast, simply doesn't care--either about what the truth is, or about communicating it to you.

Let me hand the microphone to Duncan Black before I lose perspective and start ranting:

Eschaton: Journamalism: Jodi Wilgoren tells us how she sees her job:

I don't consider myself a creationist. I don't have any interest in sharing my personal views on how the canyon was carved, mostly because I've spent almost no time pondering my personal views -- it takes all my energy as a reporter and writer to understand and explain my subjects' views fairly and thoroughly.

One of the complaints journalists have with bloggers is that they don't do "original reporting." But, now we see that "original reporting" has, for some journalists, become nothing more than finding people who have opinions on stuff and telling readers what those opinions are. And, amazingly, according to Wilgoren, she expends no effort in contemplating the credibility of those views. Apparently her editors are happy with this.

Jeebus. As PZ Myers writes:

Who needs facts, ideas, and research? The reporter's brain is like an empty sponge, free of content, which just soaks up everyone's opinions indiscriminately and without judgement, and is then wrung out over the pages of the newspaper. Actually thinking and evaluating those opinions in the light of evidence isn't possible with a sponge for a brain.

When did journalism come to this deplorable state?

When did the NY Times decide that porosity, permeability, and flocculence were important job qualifications?

Posted by DeLong at October 10, 2005 07:19 PM