Sam Smith, Progressive Review Undernews
RELIABLE SOURCES inform us that Newsweek will no longer be using reliable sources. Instead it will be relying on such unreliable sources as professional message manipulators, bureaucrats with their asses in hock, political appointees on their way up, legislators funded by corporate payola and such demonstrable masters of prevarication as our current president
Newsweek reporters will still be allowed to talk to reliable sources, they just won't be able to quote or cite them unless the editor approves, which considerably diminishes their utility.
This is not a journalistic decision. It is a corporate, bureaucratic, and legalistic response to the deliberate abuse of a story by professional message manipulators, bureaucrats with their asses in hock, political appointees on their way up, legislators funded by corporate payola and such demonstrable masters of prevarication as our current president.
What we may expect from this rank journalistic cowardice can be found in a current Newsweek story, one paragraph of which includes the following:
"Simon Schorno, an [International Committee of the Red Cross] spokesman, said the Red Cross had provided 'several' instances that it believed were 'credible.' The ICRC report included three specific allegations of offensive treatment of the Qur'an by guards."
The remaining seven paragraphs consist of transmitting the Pentagon's line on the topic. In other words, the Red Cross is not to be trusted until the Pentagon says so.
If the sniveling, timorous corporate hacks running places such as Newseeek these days had been around in an earlier time, there would have been no Pentagon Papers, no Watergate, no countless other stories that essentially pitted the honesty of journalists and government whistleblowers against the manifold mendacities of agents of the state.
The justified conceit of a free press is that, on average, Michael Isikoff is going to tell you the truth more often than a Pentagon or White House press secretary. Finding this truth requires far more than documents and statements or the faithful stenography of faithless officials. It requires finding people who, rightfully in fear of their jobs, are at least willing to share a bit of the truth with a reporter
whose confidence they trust. It requires judgment, perception, and inductive reasoning on the part of the scribe and it requires considerable courage on the part of the whistleblower. Once you believe the journalist no more trustworthy than an official source you no longer need a free press.
What Newsweek has done is to resign from the free press. Its defection should be regarded with far more contempt than any occasional misinformed story or deceitful writer. Such problems come and go, but a massive capitulation to the government and officials sources will change the nature of journalism forever and, with it, the public's ability to find the truth.