Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Our 'Copy-and-Paste' Press

Can somebody please help me?

I've searched nearly everywhere, high-to-low and up-and-down and right-to-left, but I can't seem to find any journalists.

What happened to our American Press?

Journalism used to be about digging in, searching and researching, finding new things to say about the subject of the hour.

Not anymore.

Nowadays, a story appears in one outlet, usually a wire service, and then it travels all across the newspapers and broadcast news stations, but not like a pebble gathering up moss. The same story can be read in almost every single newspaper and viewed on every single network and cable news broadcast nearly every day in America.

Let's examine the coverage of the Downing Street Memo (which are actually minutes and Memos, but that's how it's most commonly known).

The Big Brass Alliance was formed nearly a month-and-a-half ago to get the word out and is now up to 625 blogs. The Downing Street Memo blog, After Downing Street, The Raw Story, Democratic Underground, Buzzflash, The Common Ills and hundreds of Daily Kos diarists have also been a huge part of this campaign to get journalists to, in a nutshell, do their jobs (sorry, if I left anyone out).

And, so far, we've been successful in getting a story that had almost zero visibility in the American press become more of a mainstream topic of interest.

But, I'm sorry, so far, the coverage in the American press has been incredibly lacking and mostly sucked.

Michael Smith broke this story on May 1st for The Sunday Times in Britain, and he has written a number of articles since then which have added to the tale. But the American mainstream media has yet to contribute one new fact to the story.

Hundreds of bloggers, like the ones listed above and mentioned in the story below, have been able to scour the Internet, hunt down charts and figures, expand upon Michael Smith's extraordinary work, yet the mainstream press hasn't done the same, and has ignored most of these contributions and have barely even addressed the "spikes of activity" mentioned in the memos.

This is an outrage! Has our American press really devolved into just a bunch of copycat stenographers? Hell, they might as well all join together and form one huge conglomerate, because that's what they've become due to their negligence in producing any real journalism.

The mainstream media started off by mocking the memos and claiming that they're old news. But the mainstream media should be mocked for essentially becoming no news.

When will our American Press return?

It's too bad that journalists like I.F. Stone aren't around anymore. Journalists that pounded the pavement, asked questions, conducted extensive research, dug and dug and dug until they turned old news into new news.

Real journalists are still in existence today.

Sometimes the big boys like The New York Times and The Washington Post and the smaller outlets like The Toledo Blade and The St. Petersburg Times practice real journalism.

But for the most part, real journalism can only be found in the blogosphere.

Along with the aforementioned blogs, real journalism is also being practiced at The Brad Blog, Corrente, The Big Brass Blog, Loaded Mouth, In Search of Utopia, The Booman Tribune, Cannonfire, Mixter's Mix, Flogging The Simian, and many other wonderful blogs listed on my blogroll (again, apologies for the ones I left out...I'll get to you next time).

Many journalists claim they read blogs, but maybe the problem is that they're reading the wrong blogs. The big blogs that have been around the longest offer little more than partisan opinion and "copy-and-paste" journalism. The blogs that practice real journalism haven't been around that long, but we're on the rise.

In just a short time, a Website called ePluribus Media will be launching. Formerly known as Propagannon, ePluribus is composed of citizen journalists, bloggers, and Internet savvy people who have joined up to practice real journalism. We're going to be turning a lot of heads in a few weeks. Watch for us.

I'd like to wind this up with two links that are essential extra reading assigments. Check out Apian's diary at The Booman Tribune: WTF MSM? and Jay Rosen's Deep Throat, J-School and Newsroom Religion.

Real journalists should be regular readers of Jay Rosen's Press Think. Rosen, the chair of NYU's journalism departmemnt, along with Norman Mailer and I.F. Stone, has been my strongest influence in the work that I do. Press Think is the J-School of the blogosphere and it doesn't cost a dime to study there.

(Sigh...I see Blogger still hasn't fixed my "white space" problem in certain browsers. Hopefully, they will soon because I'm extremely pissed. In the meantime, please scroll down to leave a comment and read my other posts including the "Spikes of Activity" post which I am still updating and will continue to add to for at least the next week.)

Completely, off-topic, but since I have an ocean of white space on my Firefox browser window, I might as well fill it.

Greg Beato at Wonkette has uncovered some startling truths in a post called "New Halliburton Food Torture Allegations Arise":

"First, all wounded food in Iraq gets excellent medical treatment before it's served to the troops. Second, the Geneva Conventions do not apply to food during wartime, so there is no expiration date; it's perfectly legal to detain food indefinitely, and release it for consumption whenever it's deemed most appropriate."

There's more in his post, and he's included a few links to not-very-funny stories about what's being served by KBR, whose "managers ordered workers to pick bullets and shrapnel out of food shipments that had been damaged by gunfire or bombings and serve it to troops."


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