“It doesn’t matter what I think”

December 17, 2009 at 12:18 am 2 comments

Quote of the day, I think. Wait, I should be more like Jeremy Scahill, best-selling author and investigative journalist. It doesn’t matter what I think.

Scahill said that yesterday to Terry Gross of NPR’s “Fresh Air.” Gross was talking with Scahill about the war in Afghanistan and his best-selling book titled Blackwater, The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army. And while I was a bit distracted during this radio program (I’ll pay more attention when I listen to the podcast), I did hear one thing Scahill said loud and clear.

Gross asked the author and journalist what he thought about the relationship between Dick Cheney and General McChrystal. Without hesitation, Scahill replied with my title to this post. And with a line that every journalist should be made to repeat before delivering a story – be it print, broadcast, web or school newspaper.

It doesn’t matter what I think.

The “news” today is filled with “I think”-ers. Watch CNN, and they line up in front of Anderson Cooper with their laptops open, most likely tweeting as they think out loud and on camera. Watch Fox or MSNBC and you’ll get interviewers who answer their own questions before the guest can chime in. Granted, not all of these TV personalities claim to be “journalists.” But perception is the reality, and the weight of their words is heavier than that of many true newspeople.

Of course, it matters that journalists and reporters CAN think, and that they use that ability to research, investigate, report and deliver their information. After that, those in the news business move on to the next story.

Scahill’s words echo through my head right now, and they will for some time as I consume the news over the next weeks and months.

I want a reporter who reports. I can do my own thinking.

Now if we could just get politicians to listen to their constituents and also echo Scahill’s words …

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Just Another Thinker  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Methinks another watching of the 1976 movie “Network” is needed.

    We all know what is going on here, but sometimes I take comfort in knowing it’s been going on long before 1976. Entertainment, news… it’s all beholden to money. Problem is, since it is beholden to the corporate dollar, when the news (which I think we all know is nothing more than entertainment) actually starts doing its job, the money comes in a shuts it up.

    That is why places like minnpost.com catch my eye more often, but they aren’t breaking many major stories, and when they do, it is only for a local audience. Perhaps, that is what it will come down to in the end, a bunch of tiny outlets with no overhead chipping away?

    Reply
  • 2. Jeff  |  December 17, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Great point, Glenn. Way too many of today’s “reporters” have forgotten what it is to report the news…

    Reply

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