The Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan never seems to understand her own profession. This column is a perfect example of it:
Journalists do not present false stories. When they get something wrong, they correct it.
They do their best to be impartial, and — contrary to what the president told his supporters — they aren’t out to get him but to merely cover him. They are not the opposition party.
They are simply trying to do their jobs of informing the public, a job often made difficult by the obfuscation from the briefing room podium and the president’s own lies.
You have got to be kidding me.
Of course journalists have presented lies as news. I have written an entire book on it. How many journalists openly and crib from press releases, pretending they did original research? The first Gulf War was a war that was sparked by propaganda, which is fake news.
And journalists aren't just "doing their jobs." They are enamoured by the concept of social engineering. Just giving facts is looked down on, as "mere reportage".
But the profound lack of self-awareness was a big factor in the profession's collapse. This meandering piece in the New Statesman, for instance, thinks we can just get everyone to stop reacting, and that journalism, somehow, has been a profession that is slow in comparison. Hardly. How many bad stories came about pre-social media that could have used some serious reflection -- and double-checking of facts? Who comes first with the scoop was always the goal -- not who was the most thoughtful and accurate.
The inherent assumption that journalists are noble and beyond reproach is just childish arrogance. You cannot blame everyone else for an entire industry's collapse. Sooner or later, you either face reality and look at your own flaws -- or you stay oblivious as the world passes you by.
But journalists love to stay deluded.
Amazing and important journalism this year? Are you even remotely aware of reality.
Of course not.
That's why the world passed journalism by. Arguing whether ending the White House Correspondents' Dinner is a good idea is irrelevant now. The profession had more serious problems, and ending an expensive freak show dinner isn't going to save something that has already been destroyed.
It's the reality of the situation. The question now is how to replace an archaic method of gathering information that doesn't make the same mistakes -- not if a canned event is worth the effort...