Saturday, August 7, 2010

Daniel Schorr RIP

I just read yesterday about the passing of Daniel Schorr, longtime TV and radio newsman. Here's a link to his obituary.

With the passing of Schorr, I really believe that journalism in this country is now officially gone. What has replaced it is punditry, a presentation of facts predetermined by the narrow political point of view of the presenter. Narratives now tell "newsmen" what they will say about any given event.

There's still good journalism out there, especially in some of the fantastic war coverage we do get from time to time. So I'm sure I paint all journalists with too broad a stroke, but domestically it's a dying art.

Schorr brought perspective to a story instead of spin. And the proof is in the fact that you would've been hard pressed to figure out what Schorr thought about any given news event. What did it mean in the broad stretch of history, that he could deliver.

Now sadly when I listen to news shows it's all too easy to anticipate how any news event will be interpreted. Because they don't report events so much as they populate pre-existing storylines with specific details, meant in the final analysis to reaffirm an attitude already held.

Or they substitute access to powerful sources for the responsibility to inform the public. That's the real poison of modern media, the stink that lust for fame, wealth, and glory has supplanted the classic journalistic instinct to afflict the powerful. They want to become what they ought to investigate, so they blunt the effort.

Schorr was a liberal sure, but he wasn't averse to a lost concept in the modern journalism...facts. When he found some, he let you know. That's what journalism is about, and clearly many of his former bosses forgot that from time to time.

I miss his husky and reassuring voice even now.

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