The Sad State of Political Journalism
Once upon a time journalists and columnists had ethical standards.
They used to come up with original ideas inspired by current events and follow up those ideas with hard-nosed fact finding in search of the truth. Then they wrote original pieces about their findings.
They used to credit public sources.
Sadly, they don’t do that anymore. It has become old fashioned. Passé.
Case in point…
This from the newspaper where Woodward and Bernstein broke the Watergate Scandal back in 1972:
“Marco Rubio has what Mitt Romney needs in a vice president“
– Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post, 1/3/2012
The Parker opinion piece appears fresh, insightful and original… until…
You see this blog posting from the previous day:
“The GOP Ticket: Romney-Rubio“
– Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, 1/2/2012
The Sins of Kathleen Parker
Parker doesn’t commit blatant plagiarism. There is no cut-and-paste here. It’s her own words.
- Its not original thought
- Parker leaves out important details
- Parker fails to credit sources
- Parker disgraces journalistic authenticity
There is hardly a scrap of original inspiration in Parker’s OPINION piece.
What Parker Leaves Out
Parker’s oversights include:
- Fails to mention it is Robert Reich’s original suggestion
- Uses Reich’s reasoning without credit
- Fails to mention Chris Christie
Parker uses Reich’s insightful suggestion and even the very reason he used justifying his opinion, but without even mentioning his name. She brazenly passed off Reich’s ideas as her own.
Obvious by its omission from Reich’s blog is his failure to mention New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as a running mate for Romney.
Christie is the more obvious choice. He’s more popular than Rubio with Republicans on the national stage. He very publicly endorsed Mitt Romney after his own much publicized decision not to run for President himself. Rubio rebuffed Romney when Romney came knocking at his door asking for his support.
Reich can be forgiven for that oversight. After all, Reich is a progressive/liberal thinker and professor at UC Berkeley for crying out loud. He can’t possibly be expected to understand Republican politics.
Kathleen Parker can’t be forgiven.
Who is Kathleen Parker?
Parker is a highly respected conservative columnist for The Washington Post.
She is perhaps best known to television viewers as the conservative half to Elliot Spitzer’s liberal half in a highly publicized, but short-lived, CNN prime-time news show called “Parker Spitzer”.
A well-know, respected conservative journalist failing to mention Christie as a possible VP for Romney is… welll… unconscionable.
Yes, Parker throws in a couple details Reich doesn’t, but nothing substantial.
It is not that Parker should have to think that Christie would make a better choice than Rubio. She doesn’t. No, its failing to even mention Christie exists that is her cardinal sin. If she had rattled off some reason why she passed over Christie for Rubio then that is perfectly understandable.
This way, it just looks like she ripped off Robert Reich’s opinion, which she probably did.
She forgot that when writing an opinion it should breath fresh insight or bring original new thinking into current events. Hers does neither.
Sound bits and rehashing what others say is passed off as political journalism today. Digging deep for dirty on public figures and mindless repetition has replaced honest journalism and original thought.
It is bad enough that The Washington Post published Parker’s ill-conceived opinion piece, but I first saw it in the Statesman-Journal, a Gannett chain newspaper out of Salem, Oregon.
This stuff spreads like cancer.
Oh… Woodward and Bernstein… please come back to us.