Monday, December 12, 2005

James Wolcott Says 


1) So-called reputable journalists have completely forfeited their high horse when it comes to complaining about bloggers as a species of riffraff--they no longer have the right to lament bloggers' slapdash sourcing, to deplore their invective and lack of couth, to act as if they're civilized reporters forced to fend off laptop barbarians. No blogger has comported him or herself with the lazy arrogance and sloppy ethics of some of the Big Names in journalism (Bob Woodward, Judith Miller, Bob Novak), nor has done as much damage to the public's right to know and their own profession.

2) I don't want to hear another "name" journalist defend a colleague based upon friendship. I'm sick of journalists vouching for each other's sterling character and unimpeachable integrity based upon social contacts and shared histories. I don't care if you worked on the Crimson together, shared a summer house on Nantucket, played basketball with their spouse, send your kids to the same private school, or took bubble baths together as babies, spare us the "I've known X since time immortal and s/he would never violate a trust or plagiarize from another source or fabricate a quote," blah blah blah. Unless you're attached like the conjoined twins in Stuck on You and go everywhere they go, see everything they do, you have no idea what shoddy, careless or desperate thing your friend/colleague might do in a tight spot or a lackadaisical mood. No one can ever fully know the quality of another's character since so much of our own character hides in eclipse. Besides, all anyone has to do is pay minor attention to the bilious career of Robert Novak, and that'll tell you all you need to know about the quality of character assessment in the Beltway press corps. So spare us the pieties.
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