Friday, July 11, 2014

Yes, They Deserve What They Get

The July 11, 2014 Time has an article about the increasing energy that the Obama Administration is putting into stopping leaks to journalists: eight prosecutions so far, where all previous administrations combined had three such prosecutions.  Some of it is apparently because of improved technical means of surveillance, but watch what happens when a Harvard and Oxford graduate weighs in:
But as citizen journalism – people without an official press affiliation reporting on personal blogs – becomes more popular, the way the military and intelligence community is reported on could shift. Random bloggers need not follow the professional standards by which journalists abide.
Matthew Pinsker, a professor of history at Dickinson College, pointed out that this “new” form of journalism is a throwback to previous models that did not value objectivity and impartiality. In some ways, bloggers use the same practices of 19th Century pamphleteers, where anybody with a hand-crank could stand on a corner and shout to a group of people.
If these bloggers can’t hold themselves to the same standards of journalists in the 20th Century, “maybe the Obama administration is justified in pursuing leakers in a harsher way,” Pinsker said.
It is certainly true that 19th century journalists were much more honestly political partisans than today.  (Today, many journalists are, to use Instapundit's phrase, "Democratic party operatives with bylines."  But somehow, I can't picture Pinsker making similar excuses for the Bush Administration.  Can you?

Of course, the "professional standards" of journalists include the faked Air National Guard memos about Bush (typed in the 1970s using Microsoft Word) and the near silence of most of the media about the very serious charges involving Operation Fast & Furious, and the defensive protection about Benghazi.

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