Outside of the clergy most of us don’t think of what we do for a living as “sacred”–well, outside the clergy and the puffed up press.
“Some news ought to be upsetting. Some news ought to intellectually upend you and, if possible, make you uncomfortable. This is a journalist’s sacred duty,” columnist Richard Cohen wrote last week in a column that sought to explain that sometimes mistakes are made in the rough and tumble (but very noble) world of big time journalism.
In the sacred duty piece, Cohen urged Dan Rather to have “courage” and excoriated the network anchor’s critics:
“Yet on the Internet and in the right-wing press, calls shrill with false indignation have been issued for Rather’s scalp. It is alleged, it is insinuated, it is winked and poked and smeared and whispered that Rather is some sort of liberal apparatchik or personally in cahoots with the Kerry campaign — and that he should retire instantly. It beggars belief that some of this is coming from the Murdoch media empire — the New York Post and Fox News — which reports everything but the weather with a slant, and even then I wonder.”
If it’s a smear to call for CBS to be accountable, just call this morning’s blog a smear. Here are some articles you won’t want to miss:
John Podhoretz in the Weekly Standard explains that Rathergate isn’t the first time the sacred duty crowd at CBS has misled the public in a big way.
Matthew Continetti charts the interaction of CBS producers and officials from the Democratic National Committee and Kerry campaign in the “reporting” of the story.
And columnist John Leo addresses the question of why CBS ran with a story on which they hadn’t adequately reported:
“Maybe CBS feared losing its big scoop. More likely it was just reluctant to come in behind the new wave of retaliatory Bush-bashing instead of leading it.
“Another factor is the familiar peril of groupthink. If your newsroom is filled with people who think and vote the same way and who are convinced that Bush is a malevolent character who must be stopped, you are more likely to run through red lights than you would be if a similar half-baked story was about to be sprung on someone you cared about.”