Monday, February 28, 2005

I Quit! Go Fuck Yourself!

Laurie Garrett of Newsday resigned today. For our reading pleasure, she left a public resignation letter. Oh, and it's a doozy. You should go to Romenesko to read the whole thing, but here are my favorite bits:

  • The leaders of Times Mirror and Tribune have proven to be mirrors of a general trend in the media world: They serve their stockholders first, Wall St. second and somewhere far down the list comes service to newspaper readerships.

  • The sort of in-your-face challenge that the Fourth Estate once posed for politicians has been replaced by mud-slinging, lies and, where it ought not be, timidity.

  • The "His Girl Friday" romance of the newshound is gone. All too many journalists seem to mistake scandal mongering for tenacious investigation, and far too many aspire to make themselves the story.

  • Honesty and tenacity (and for that matter, the working class) seem to have taken backseats to the sort of "snappy news", sensationalism, scandal-for-the-sake of scandal crap that sells. This is not a uniquely Tribune or even newspaper industry problem: this is true from the Atlanta mixing rooms of CNN to Sulzberger's offices in Times Square. Profits: that's what it's all about now. But you just can't realize annual profit returns of more than 30 percent by methodically laying out the truth in a dignified, accessible manner.

  • This is terrible for democracy. I have been in 47 states of the USA since 9/11, and I can attest to the horrible impact the deterioration of journalism has had on the national psyche. I have found America a place of great and confused fearfulness, in which cynically placed bits of misinformation (e.g. Cheney's, "If John Kerry had been President during the Cold War we would have had thermonuclear war.") fall on ears that absorb all, without filtration or fact-checking.
  • Brava, Ms. Garrett! This is everything I would say if a newspaper were ever to hire me and I had to resign in disgust. So, my loyal readers, what do you think? Will this shame any of those Bush-whipped reporters out there to get off their asses and do some real work? Or will they just dismiss her rantings with a simple, "what a bitch!" and be done with it. I'm betting on the latter, as the former is running 1000 to 1 odds in Vegas as of the time of this post.

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