Skip to comments.Sea Hag: Who You Calling A Journalist?
Posted on 04/15/2005 12:39:33 PM PDT by presidio9
Who is a journalist?
That is the question that Jeff Gannon, alias James Guckert, asked in his own defense during a National Press Club panel last week.
The club sponsored the discussion to illuminate the differences between legitimate journalists and bloggers -- or imposters.
Gannon and a couple of bloggers were on the panel.
Gannon made news recently after some liberal bloggers began investigating him when he asked President George W. Bush a question that had as its premise the assertion that congressional Democrats were "divorced from reality."
Bush comes to his rare news conferences armed with a list of reporters his staff has designated for him to call on. In giving Gannon the nod, he passed over some of the regular White House journalists -- including yours truly -- all with our hands up.
Gannon had attended White House briefings over a two-year period by getting a regular flow of one-day press passes that allowed him to enter the White House grounds. He did not qualify for a permanent White House press pass or a congressional press pass because he failed to meet the accreditation rules, which include the requirement that the applicant work for a news publication or broadcast outlet.
Gannon was known in the press room for asking softball, right-leaning questions. The digging bloggers revealed him to be a Republican operative, employed by the Talon News Web site, run by volunteer GOP activists and linked to GOSPUSA, a Republican consulting group, owned by Bobby Eberle of Houston.
Once that was established, questions arose as to why he was allowed to attend the daily press sessions.
Gannon complained that he had been targeted by liberal bloggers who did not like his "pro-administration" questions and argued that the harsh treatment he was getting in the mainstream media would have a "chilling" effect on other conservatives in the media.
"I was about the only news source providing ... information without a filter," he said in defending his use of White House press releases verbatim in his so-called "news" reports.
"There is nothing wrong with reporting what the administration says about a particular issue," he said. "Why does everything have to be looked at through a lens that represents every point of view?"
In the ensuing hullabaloo, Gannon resigned from Talon, telling Editor & Publisher magazine -- a news industry trade publication -- that he felt he was a "legitimate" correspondent.
One does wonder where the lines are these days that distinguish between legitimate reporters and anyone who has a laptop computer or a Web site.
Where do the bloggers fit in? They may have something to say -- and nobody is stopping them. Still, the description "journalist" does not apply to what they do.
Edward Wasserman, a professor of journalism at Washington & Lee University, defines a journalist as someone who "is professionally dedicated to truth seeking." He conceded that although the whole job description "has gotten muddied," Gannon shouldn't be considered a journalist.
Gannon was a propagandist, a flack for the White House. Thus, he fails to meet the requirement -- as Wasserman wrote in the Miami Herald last September -- that "anybody who enters the (journalism) profession makes a core commitment to do his or her best to determine and tell the truth."
Tom Rosenstiel, head of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, said the proper question is not whether you call yourself a journalist, but whether your work constitutes journalism.
"A journalist tries to get the facts right" and tries to get close to a "verifiable truth," not to take sides but "to inspire public discussion," he said.
This isn't a requirement for bloggers with axes to grind.
Professional reporters and editors are trained to understand the need for neutrality in straight news stories. They also have been trained in the ethics that distinguish their profession.
It's in the nature of our work that the public has every opportunity to scrutinize what we do. No one lasts long in the news business if there are deliberate distortions of the news.
The late Martha Gellhorn, a legendary foreign correspondent, said: "In all my reporting life, I have thrown small pebbles into a very large pond, and ... have no way of knowing whether any pebble caused the slightest ripple. I don't need to worry about that. My responsibility was the effort."
Fortunately, most newspapers in this country are still devoted to delivering impartial news stories. The editors and publishers see it as an indispensable public service.
(Helen Thomas can be reached at the e-mail address email@example.com).
When women reach that quality of beauty, I wonder why they even wear makeup!
That leaves Helen out of being called a journalist then because what she writes is opinion not facts.
Dear Helen Thomas:
Not only are you stupid, but you are also, no doubt, ugly. I would venture to say that you are so ugly, both in mind, soul and outward appearance as to be revolting to the sight. Gut-wrenching, barf-bag filling, hang-a-pork-chop-around-your-neck-to-get-the-dog-to-play-with-you ugly. Mind-numbingly ugly. So ugly that you could look the medusa square in the eye and turn HER into stone. Naw, I bet you're even uglier than that. So ugly that in comparison to your visage, a bucket-full of penguine crap would be regarded as an artful masterpiece. Monumentally ugly. So ugly that If I had to look directly at you, my autonomic reflexes would cause me to soil my drawers. Worse - if your dead, decrepid corpse was fed into a tree-chipper, the chipper would malfunction and barf out tree-chipper teeth. Black-holes would refuse to alow you past their event-horizon for fear of contamination. THAT's how UGLY you are.
Man that puts the ug in ugly, goodbye lunch.
That definition would depopulate every MSM newsroom in America.
Helen Thomas was a propagandist, a flack for the Clinton White House.
This whole Gannon thing is surreal.
The left went after his scalp not because he was biased, but because he was conservatively biased.
They couldn't bring him down because of that, as quoting an average press conference in full was damning counter evidence, so they invaded his "right to privacy" and gay-baited him.
"real" journalists are nuetral.
What a f'in joke.
If you post pictures you should (Barf alert).
Sea Hag: WAH, WAH, I'm important! Slick Willie loved me! He snapped my thong, dammit! Who cares if I look like my face was on fire and it was put out with a screwdriver!
Helen Thomas has had her tiny head up her huge As* for so long, she no longer has any idea which way is up.
Hey, why don't we stick to the issue. What Helen Thomas looks like is beside the point. At least she didn't try to turn herself into some botoxed, facelifted Frankenstein. She may not be today's definition of beauty but then no one is naturally anymore.
As to the issue, she is wrong about journalists. By any definition she presents, 99% if not 100% of the MSM flunk. Whatever happened to the liberal notion that truth is a personal thing and not a standard by which we can judge others?
I have a bachelor's degree in journalism and I warn't never taught about ethics and searches for truth. In fact I was studying journalism during the sea change of the Nixon resignation when journalists went from reporters of fact to king-breakers. Suddenly everyone who came into journalism was a crusader out to take on the "establishment".
Helen is totally out to lunch when she assumes that "real journalists" only pursue the truth and do everything they can to stay neutral. None that I ever met tried to meet that standard and as I read and listen to the news today, I can't find anyone who also does so. In fact, it is literally impossible not to impose your own notions onto what you see and hear and pursue in the news.
As to accountability, bloggers also have accountability. If readers sense they are out to lunch, the readership goes down. So Helen is wrong there also. It isn't necessary to attack Ms. Thomas' appearance when she is so wrong already on substance. I believe bloggers have as much claim to be journalists as so-called "real journalists" and the only issue on access to the White House should be readership or impact not whether it is broadcast, print or blogging.
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