Compare and Contrast on the Value of Journalism


Chuck Todd began tweeting at 6 a.m. — “the big race is in WV where
another DC incumbent could lose a primary” — and now, nearly three
hours later, he is crashing minutes before airtime. Tapping on a
computer in a wrinkled blue shirt, Todd has just finished updating a
blog post on Arlen Specter when he asks a producer to find some
videotape for his new program, “The Daily Rundown.”


Armed with small handycams undercover Video Journalists in Burma
keep up the flow of news from their closed country despite risking
torture and life in jail. Their material is smuggled out of Burma and
broadcast back via satellite.

Joshua, age 27, becomes tactical
leader of a group of reporters, as Buddhist monks in September 2007
lead a massive uprising. Foreign TV crews are banned from the country,
so its left to Joshua and his crew to keep the revolution alive on TV
screens all over. As government intelligence understands the power of
the camera, the VJs become their prime target.

This was on HBO the other night and, curious, I taped the sucker. JESUS. It is intense. And while it’s tempting to say most of the work they do would be near-impossible without the modern technology to get their messages out over the Internet, you know if these guys had to smuggle their stories out handwritten on pieces of toilet paper they’d do it, becauseit’s what they are.

And yeah, it’s an unfair comparison, maybe. The job’s different from being a shallow, silly Washington bore, clearly.But that’s the point. There is no law that says news, especially TV news, has to be trivial. And there are issues in this country, like, say, the destruction of an entire region’s environment and livelihood, that merit this kind of intensity. I think sometimes we forget, in watching the neverending stupidity parade that is our national discourse, just how vital journalism can be. It can be all that is standing between a people and total despair, and we’ve not seen journalists conduct themselves like that’s the job here in quite some time.


4 thoughts on “Compare and Contrast on the Value of Journalism

  1. 6am? Goodness. The sun’s barely up! Though you forgot to mention he was walking uphill in the snow WHILE TWEETING AND WINNING THE MORNING. No wonder his shirt is so wrinkled.

  2. I’m ashamed to say, I’ve read about this but have avoided even recording it because I didn’t think I could handle it right now.

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