I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shouted at the radio when Rush Limbaugh launches into one of his trademark rants ripping into the drive-by media, gloating over the falling circulation of newspaper and falling ratings for network news programs, cheer leading the death spiral as many in the mass media auger ever deeper into a pile of leveraged debt from which some may never emerge.
“Rush, you’re like a remora hoping your host will die,” I scream. “Where the hell do you think you get your material? The facts. The pithy quotes. The sound bites. The transcripts. Someone from a newspaper or television station was there and recorded the event in one way or the other so you can access it and talk about it.”
Don’t get me wrong, I like Rush and his shtick. He’s an amusing entertainer who does an excellent job of sorting through the fire hose-like blast of daily information, giving it his analytical spin. But he’d have to go back to spinning stacks of wax if it weren’t for the hard-working reporters and editors who are in the trenches every day gathering, editing and disseminating to people like him.
Sure there are a lot of flaws with the media and I can’t disagree when he says too many in the mainstream media are too far left and too many swooned over the candidacy of Barry Obama. But what’s with this biting the hand that feeds you.
I point out Rush because he is the most popular guy, but there are countless others who feed at the news trough and then kick slop in our faces.
So, it was a rare delight to read a confessional column penned by Susan Estrich for Creators Syndicate.
“The truth, whether you want to admit it or not, is that what drives public discourse today is still the work of the nation’s top newspapers: The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and, yes, even my much snickered about Los Angeles Times,” Estrich writes. “If they can’t do their job, they won’t be the only ones who suffer. All of us who depend on their reporters and editors will suffer, and so will the public discourse about important issues.
“Talking about the news is easy. Finding it, digging for it and separating what’s accurate from what’s not are laborious, time-consuming and often unrewarding tasks. … But in this information age, we need them and the professional standards of reporting and editing to which they aspire, even if they do not always meet them.”
Where have I heard that before?