Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Okrent to retire; Times still a propaganda rag

Jay Rosen at Pressthink has praise for Daniel Okrent who is completing an 18 month stint as public editor of the NY Times. I am sure that Don Luskin at Conspiracy to Keep You Poor and Stupid does not. Go to Don's index and look through all the posts on the NY Times for a flavor.

Ultimately, Okrent would have kept his credibility intact if he had been able to face reality and admit it the way a former Washington Post ombudsman did. While performing the same job for the Post that Okrent tried to perform for the Times, he admitted what we all know to be true -- that the news media is partisan. I outlined the details of this story in a post earlier this year. One of my readers informed me that his name was Richard Harwood.

Short version -- on a C-Span panel in the early 90s, he declared that the news media was politically partisan and had been his entire career. He gave his first assignment as a reporter as an example. He began his journalism career in the 50s with the Tennessean in Nashville. His first assignment was to write a campaign speech for a political candidate favored by the paper. He then covered the speech, wrote a glowing report and drafted the paper's editorial endorsing the politician's candidacy. Four decades later, he said, the partisanship was still pervasive.

The news media's failure of credibility is entirely due to an absence of other journalists with that kind of honesty.


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