Wednesday, May 18, 2005

A scary quote

Here is what former newsman and now, allegedly, respected journalism scholar Marvin Kalb has to say about the White House reaction in the wake of the Newsweek fiasco:

"This is hardly the first time that the administration has sought to portray the American media as inadequately patriotic," said Marvin Kalb, a senior fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University. "They are addressing the mistake, and not the essence of the story. The essence of the story is that the United States has been rather indelicate, to put it mildly, in the way that they have treated prisoners of war."

"They are addressing the mistake, and not the essence of the story?"

Is he joking?

I always thought that FACTS were what we were supposed to be reporting, not "essences," whatever they are.

If we get to a point where we gloss over factually incorrect stories because we THINK their "essence" is true, it's a sad, sad day for journalism.

Here is a link to the entire New York Times story, by the way.

1 comment:

NYC pal said...

I haven't followed the Newsweek story real close, but I was under the impression that a source they used in the story later changed his side, in essence, he recanted the quotes Newsweek used. So, in fact, it was his fault, not Newsweek.

If they made up information, that is obviously a violation of journalistic ethics (ala Dan Rather, of which his conjured story also had an "essence" of truth, but it still unethical all the same). But if their source changed his story, then Newsweek should not be taking the brunt of the heat. In fact, it should raise quesitons as to why this person would change his story after the fact (could it be pressure from an administration that loves to shroud itself in secrecy and half-truths?).