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than a muckraker: Robert Parry believed in the possibilities of our craft

This kind of talk is unusual among correspondents. It comes over as a touch angelic. You get responses such as Nick von Hoffman’s, quoted above. Get the story, get it right, file the story, move on to the next, all good fun: This is more the norm. But I am with Johnstone on this one. The craft, if one has a passion for it, yields great pleasure. But honestly, that is not finally the point. Johnstone lifts a long-undisturbed rock. Under it we find the question, like a message in a Chinese fortune cookie: “What are we doing this for?” it asks. Bob may not have agreed, and his son Nat may not now, but I think this question was implicit in everything Bob wrote and published at Consortium.

Now it is ours — we press people, we readers — to keep this question alive. The best way to do this, in my read, is to understand our moment as Parry père did and Parry fils may. The craft needs a reinvention. It needs to re-situate itself in relation to power. This is the first imperative, to make itself again (although I am not into “golden ages”) an independent pole in the polity. Not separate from this, our media need to remake their relations with readers and viewers, too. I do not mean speak for them. No: They can do that for themselves. I mean speak to them in plain, clear language, as against at them, as if we in the media are the bearers of coded messages from the circles of power we are supposed to maintain a professional distance from.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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