Yesterday I ranted about Arthur Brisbane’s inane worry about the Times becoming “truth vigilantes.” Fred “Slacktivist” Clark, a longtime member of the journalism tribe, has some choice words for Arty:
OK, Brisbane seems unclear on both sides of “All the news” and “fit to print,” so let’s review.
“If your mother says she loves you, check it out.”
That’s the job. That’s it. That is what being a reporter and a journalist means.
If your mother tells you she loves you and you turn around and repeat, “My mother loves me,” or even the slightly more careful, “My mother says she loves me,” then you’re not a reporter or a journalist. You’re not reporting, just repeating. That’s stenography or gossip, not journalism.
Checking it out is what makes a reporter and what makes a report.
It’s amazing to me this needed to be said. Clark has more:
Arthur Brisbane’s column is an admission of journalistic malpractice. He should be told to step away from his desk and go home before he does any more damage. The New York Times ought to be furious for what he has done to its once-respected name.
And his name should become a shorthand epithet for all who are clueless about the most basic purpose of their jobs. The next time a cornerback totally flubs the coverage to allow an easy touchdown, the announcer should say, “Boy, he really pulled a Brisbane on that play. He looked like he had no idea why he was even on the field …”
You should, of course, go read the whole thing.