Monday, August 14, 2006

The Other Side

So, we've heard a lot of heroic stories out of the Katrina aftermath, but not everyone seems to be doing so well. This poor sucker is obviously having a hard time dealing with things. This sort of meltdown reminds me of someting that Chuck Klosterman wrote about reporters in his pop culture manifesto "Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs," which I recently finished reading. According to Klosterman, who used to work for the Akron Beacon-Journal, all news reporters eventually go crazy because they can never represent anything at face value and always have to look for the other side of the story. He gives the extreme example of a city passing stricter pedophelia laws, which almost everyone would agree with, including, most likely, the reporter. However, in the interest of "fair and balanced journalism," the reporter must try and find a contrary opinion, most likely from some lobbying group (People for Pedopheliacs?)who claims the new law is a violation of civil liberties. Thus, the reporter gets labled as being in the corner of child molesters, when actually he's not. According to Klosterman, this dual life that reporters lead, leads to insanity. And this Times-Picayune guy clearly went insane.
As a former newspaper report and current newsletter editor/publisher, I'd have to agree with Chuck K. I personally think we should go back to the days when newspapers were shameless political instruments that unabashedly supported issues and causes. It's not natural to write in a fair and balanced style - and still your filters are being used to describe what fair and balanced is - so how fair and balanced can it be. Stop the farce! People have opiions, let it out, go with it... and maybe we'll see less reporter meltdowns.




Stan Langerhaus said...

Interesting observation Ralph.

A person once told me that the only place in the paper where you find any news is on the editorial page.

I admit that I don't read very many newspapers anymore, but I think that most of the papers (and websites) have made their political/philosophical alignment fairly well known.

Are you saying that the bottom level reporters are the ones with the problem since they are charged with the duty of reporting the issues? Isn't that what they are hired to do? I suppose after a few years a reporter who has figured out the basic stuff would want to go on to provide his/her take on the facts along with the story. Seems to me to be a natural progression.

As far as that unfortunate fellow in NO, I think he is suffering from PTSD. Not a crisis of conscience due to news reporting.

DocTorDee said...

Yes, but I can't tell you how many times I got one side of the story and was ready to write my article, only to learn the other side of the changed everything. And I would have looked teribly foolish if I were to have NOT sought the other side of the story.

There is something to be said for "objective" reporting. After all, writers can always voice their opinions on their blogs after the fact.