Monday 14 December 2009

Why Editor & Publisher should not die

Will Bunch on Huffington Post highlights the way US journalism trade magazine Editor & Publisher, which it was announced last week is to close, was almost a lone voice questioning America's mainstream media's acceptance of the "rush to war" on Iraq.
He writes: "With a small staff and with so many problems in the world of journalism, E&P had a remarkable knack for honing in on, and reporting the heck out of, the few things that were most important, which were not pageviews and clickthroughs, but old-fashioned journalism that was both highly ethical and highly skeptical. They practiced it that way themselves, and they often went after the mainstream media charlatans who did not."
He notes how E&P editor Greg Mitchell explained his philosophy on journalism: "All our coverage on all subjects--is not to be partisan or not to be left or right or anything like that. But we believe in --what should be the main principle of journalism, besides being accurate and fair, is to be skeptical--to raise questions, to not take what officials say as the gospel truth--unless it's really proven--if there's documents."
Bunch says: "That seems obvious enough, yet upon his 2002 arrival the world of journalism was turned upside down by the looming war in Iraq, by news orgs that put every presidential pronouncement on Page A1 but buried reality-based skeptics on Page A16 while ignoring both large-scale protests and the lethally wrong suggestion that Saddam Hussein somehow had something to do with 9/11. Almost alone at times, Mitchell and E&P reported critically on the rush to war and on U.S. journalism's helplessness under that stampede."