Friday, February 20, 2004

Journalists getting snippy

Jay Rosen examines the tendency of Columbia Journalism Review's Campaign Desk website to lecture bloggers on the rules of journalism, specifically reporting exit poll numbers before the official polls are closed. "And that the culprits are blogs, and not networks, doesn't let them off the hook."

What hook? Well, that's Rosen's point, I think. And there are lots of good comments, including one from Matt Welch, to whom Rosen replies:
You put a finger on something key when you picked up on this line from the Desk, "don't then complain when others impugn your journalistic ethics -- and don't complain that Campaign Desk or anyone else is refusing to take you seriously."

Who are they, who is anyone, to say, "don't complain if..." as if the right to complain (talk back) about the Desk's judgments is somewhere suspendable? I can lose status as a complaintant in the court of Campaign Desk, it seems. Yes, it's a figure of speech, "then don't complain," and it says something about the kind of relationship assumed to exist here.
Nothing illustrates better than this the negative effect the Ivory Tower can have on those who take it too seriously, "I can criticize you, and you have no right to complain about it!"


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