culture, politics, commentary, criticism

Friday, May 09, 2003
The sweet and patriotic smell of skunk. Journalism needs to wake up and indulge its Inner Pot-Stirrer, says
William Powers (May 9, 2003):
The problem, and the essential challenge for the news business right now, is that we are living through a moment that's inhospitable to our deepest talents and inclinations. The best journalists are troublemakers, pot-stirrers, naysayers, dirt-eaters. When the whole culture is saying "Yes, yes, yes" to some sparkly idea or popular leader, we love nothing better than to be the ones who rush in screaming "No, no, no," brandishing the ugly evidence. To the noble hack, there is no smell sweeter than the skunk spray of a major political scandal.


Maybe none of these stories are as solid as their promoters suggest. Maybe it's all a bunch of thinly disguised partisan trash. But then, some of the best stories have intensely partisan origins. The point is, we seem to have lost our appetite for this stuff, at exactly the moment when we should be indulging it. When flags are waving everywhere, it's time for journalists to get back in touch with their nasty, scandal-loving inner selves. It's the most patriotic thing we could possibly do.
"Patriotic" is a word that desperately needs a couple of viable variant definitions beyond the one promoted by the Bush-Rove Dictionary of Electable Language, Second Edition.

There's a lot of power to be had by journalists if they could shake off their slumbers. If these be dirt-eaters, bring on the dirt!

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