Reporter gets complaints from both sides of a story, assumes he did a good job

Well, it happened again last night. We were watching a TV show on famous hotels, and they were talking one in Belfast where reporters stayed during the IRA uprising if the 1970’s. They reviewed some of the tragedies of that time and put on old footage of a pompous BBC correspondent who said, and I am not quoting exactly but it is part of the journalist’s handbook so look it up:

“Well, I recall during that time that I would get letters of protest from republicans on my reporting, and also letters protesting my reporting from loyalists, so I knew I was doing a good job.

Loyalists and republicans were both complaining that he was biased. Since those two sides of the story need to be told, and both were complaining, they could well both be right, that he was not getting the story right. (Reporters usually don’t.) There’s no justification in his arrogant self-adulation in receiving those complaints. He could be just a shitty journalist.

Other possibilities: loyalist complaints are spot on, republicans not, or visa versa. Or both sides are wrong. That he might be doing some solid reporting is only one possibility of many. I deem it unlikely, as from his words of self-congratulation, it is plain his critical thinking skills are lacking.


Which reminds me: I listened to Senator Diane Feinstein stumble all over her tongue trying to explain who can be a “journalist” for a shield law she was proposing. If she would have just spit it out, it would have been so much easier. What she was trying to say was that they only wanted to protect “safe” or trained journalists, as they present no threat to power. For that reason, anyone not in the pay of a company that produces news officially was not to be protected. Those people, our legions of sleuths and blowhards, are as worthy of protection under our tattered first amendment as any of the paid shills if the industry, but are harder to control. Ergo, no protection.

That’s all she wanted to say, but she had such a hard time.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in American "journalism", Journalism. Bookmark the permalink.

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