Thursday, May 05, 2005

They Get Letters

Dear Mr. Dvorkin,

Regarding your post on the NPR site: When Those Pesky Blogs Undermine NPR News; you appear to be misinformed about both the purpose of blogs and the purpose of journalists. I would like to take this opportunity to enlighten you about each.

First of all, journalists are not supposed to act as a marketing/publicity agency for the United States Government, corporations or special interest groups. Journalists are actually supposed to report the news. I realize that this is probably a new and stunning concept to you so I will explain further:
  • The way democracies function is that the public be informed of what is going on around them so that when they vote, they have a clue as to what in the hell they are voting for. This requires that somebody tell them what is going on.
  • For centuries there has been a thing called "the news" which is produced by people who research, interview and report on significant events that occur. These people comprise "the press."
  • Sometimes governments, corporations and interest groups lie. The public relies on the press to let them know when they are being lied to so that they can continue to make informed decisions.

    So, in essence, the job of journalists is to deliver accurate news to the public, sometimes by revealing misinformation from government, corporations, etc.

    Now we come to the role of blogs. Since the "press" has completely failed to carry out their duties, instead becoming mere mouthpieces to for the government, corporations, etc. somebody has to report the news. And since you are not doing so, the blogosphere has decided to pick up the slack. The real indication that niether you, nor any other major media outlet is fulfilling their role is the fact that both liberals and conservatives agree on one thing: the news sucks. Think on that for a minute. Maybe more Americans are turning to The Daily Show because the real news is more of a joke than the fake news.

    One final comment; about the redacted Pentagon memo about the incident in which Nicola Calipari, the Italian intelligence agent who was killed by the US military. The implication of your post is that bloggers used some underhanded means to reveal the redacted portion of the memo. That is not so. In the process of converting it from a .pdf document to a Word document the redacted portion was revealed; a process no more complicated than cutting and pasting. The problem is not that the redacted portion was revealed.

    The problem is that both the United States Military was too stupid to know how to actually redact the information in question and NPR news does not think it is news that the Pentagon does not know how to conceal secret information.

    In the words of comdian Jon Stewart: Stop what you are doing. You are hurting America.

    Best Regards,

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