Via the crack den, here’sJudy being an ignorant news twink again:
While she advocates a federal shield law to protect mainstream journalists from divulging their sources, she doesn’t favor extending that to bloggers who don’t follow the standards and ethnics [sic] of the journalism industry.
Still, she wouldn’t restrict a blogger’s right to publish online. She said some bloggers have been invaluable in uncovering government flaws.
“I’m glad to welcome them as long as they agree to the standards,” she said.
And the hyposrisy of it is self-evident, but here’s what bugs me. It’s not that unusual a statement in the mouths of print journos, even good ones, that bloggers lack “standards.” What nobody ever seems to follow up and ask them is exactly what those standards are.
Is Judy referring to “X number of people read your story prior to publication?” Is she referring to “every reporter is required to submit to fact-checking?” Is she referring to “X number of sources required for every factual assertion in a news piece?” Is she referring to “X amount of credentials required to opine about issue Y?”
The reason there’s so many X’s and Y’s in the above paragraph is that those standards vary wildly from one print outlet to another. And I think this is a misconception most journalists have about themselves, that there’s an overarching code everybody remotely associated with the craft signs on to and upholds, which is then enforced by some kind of Journalism Central Authority. There’s no such code, and no such authority. Industry to industry, medium to medium, these things aren’t agreed on; what’s more, they’re seldom even discussed.
Take newspapers alone, for example. One newspaper might require you to turn in phone numbers for every source used in an article. Another could give a shit so long as they get the thing in on time. Still another hires fact-checkers who essentially re-interview everyone you talked to to make sure you quote them accurately. An editor at one paper might demand to know who your anonymous sources are before he or she gives permission for you to use them; another editor might trust his or her reporters to make those kinds of determinations.
So saying bloggers don’t have the same standards as print journalists … Some web sites adhere to one or more of the above, while the New York Times under Howell Raines appeared not to have the slightest idea why any of that is at all necessary.
For what it’s worth, I think there’s only a few “ethics” standards journalists need adhere to and the rest of it is bullshit designed to give university professors something to wank about while drawing a paycheck. 1) Don’t fuck your sources. 2) Don’t make stuff up. 3) Don’t take presents from people you cover. Sign something, don’t sign something, but don’t pretend that needing to put common sense “quit being such a fucking idiot” rules down in writing makes you better than anybody else, because, no.
Attempting to make it more complicated than that just allows people like Judith Miller to talk about how we’ve got no standards while violating rules 1, 2 and 3 all at once.