J-School: Educating Independent Journalists

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Archive for May 30th, 2006

Albritton to Bloggers: Shut Up Already

Posted by chanders on May 30, 2006

Chris Albritton of Back to Iraq is tired of the blogging class– both left and right– trashing the mainstream media. It has led, in his words, to a

distrust of all so-called Mainstream Media … [i]t’s almost heretical to defend “the press” in a blog these days. Well, fire up the coals and burn me at the stake then: I think the journalism coming out of Baghdad has been some of the best the international press corps has produced.

Albritton’s got a good point. A few lefty bloggers have tried to walk the line between a general attack on the mainstream press and what Atrios has called an "attack on the press when it screws up." But this is a hard and narrow road to walk: the opprotunities to trash the mainstream media are ever-present, fairly easy to do, and well-documented. In short, perfect its blog material.

It might be nice to see the left blogosphere distinguish itself from the right blogosphere by praising good journalism, by being fair, and by being merciless when, indeed, the mainstream press f—-s up.

Finally, I’m not so sure I agree with Albritton about the quality of journalism coming out of Iraq. After all, the meme of the imprisioned press didn’t just emerge out of nowhere. It was given a fairly vigorous push by Wall St. Journal reporter Farnaz Fassihi’s infamous email and has been consistantly reinforced, especially in this article by Berkeley J-School dean Orville Schell. So is the notion of the "besieged press" totally off-base? How do we reconcile Albritton’s plea and Schell’s critique?

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