The troubles with journalism

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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Excellent speech by Les Carlyon.

UPDATE. Michael Kinsley in the Washington Post:

Dowd is … the most influential columnist of our time.

And that’s no Dowdism.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/20/2005 at 08:36 PM
    1. That will find its way on to the newsroom noticeboard.

      Posted by slatts on 03/20 at 08:53 PM • permalink


    1. All journalists will be remembered for are their words…

      …and thus, journalists drink…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/20 at 08:56 PM • permalink


    1. Re: Article

      I’m convinced there are only two reasons for being a journalist. One is that you’re curious about the world and the people in it, and this is where political correctness, from either the left or the right, is a danger because political correctness, by its very definition, is hostile to curiosity. It says, in effect, you’ve got to look at the world through a keyhole, not a big bay window.

      And the other reason for being a journalist is because you love to write. The rest is all dross. All journalists are ever remembered for are their words.

      For “journalist” substitute “blogger”, and he’s summed it up to a tee.

      Posted by Zoe Brain on 03/20 at 08:57 PM • permalink


    1. Dowd?  The most influential columnist of our time?  She’s not even the most influential columnist of the NYT.  (I would choose Friedman or Safire for that honor).

      Most likely Kinsley says that in an effort to slide himself out of the imbroglio with Susan Estrogen (or however her last name is spelled – sorry, my fact checker is off today).

      Dowd is frivolous.  And occasionally funny.  But certainly not substantive or compelling.  For that one must read Mark Steyn.

      One must.

      Posted by wronwright on 03/20 at 09:30 PM • permalink


    1. If MoDo were to disappear and Iowa Hawk pen write her columns, who’d know the difference?

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 03/20 at 10:00 PM • permalink


    1. Who would know the difference?  Well, me for one.  I would stop thinking to myself, hell, if the NYT pays good money for this inane drivel, maybe I should consider becoming a columnist.

      Come on, let’s be honest.  Who among us has not entertained a thought that they could write a better column, while suffering a migraine and taking an enema, than MoDo?

      And, who thinks the same after reading Iowa Hawk?

      Posted by wronwright on 03/20 at 10:13 PM • permalink


    1. Dowd is … the most influential columnist of our time.

      And yet strangely, Kinsley does not syndicate her in his own LA Times.

      wronwright —” Who among us has not entertained a thought that they could write a better column, while suffering a migraine and taking an enema, than MoDo?”

      Actually, the LA Weekly did that story a few years ago, about a therapist who has you take a high colonic and then relieve yourself through a strainer.  Apparently you could recover long-lost memories by seeing what you’d accidentally swallowed…

      You’re right.  It was better.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/20 at 10:43 PM • permalink


    1. There’s a difference between writing a better column than MoDo, which hundreds of newspaper columnists accomplish on a regular basis, and writing a Mo Do column.  Her columns are unique for their puerile pop-culture references, illogical inferences and Dowdisms.

      It’s like the difference between being a better newsman than Dan Rather and being Dan “He swept through the South like a tornado through a trailer park” Rather.

      Posted by Bruce Rheinstein on 03/20 at 10:58 PM • permalink


    1. Are you absolutely sure the word was “influential”? It wasn’t “pestilential”?

      Posted by paco on 03/20 at 11:11 PM • permalink


    1. I just went and read the Iowahawk parody.  The phrase “Mean Dean the Dancing Machine” should be carved on Dean’s political headstone.

      Posted by JayC on 03/20 at 11:16 PM • permalink


    1. Shakey use to drink from her cup or is it her glass?

      Posted by zefal on 03/21 at 12:00 AM • permalink


    1. MoDope!!!

      SIMON: And that pose is out too, Sunny Jim. The new thing is to care passionately, and be right wing. Anyway, you won’t meet MoDo if you don’t cooperate.

      GEORGE: And who’s this MoDo when she’s at home?

      SIMON: (playing his ace) Only Maureen Dowd, our resident teenager. You’ll have to love her. She’s your symbol.

      GEORGE: Oh, you mean that posh bird who gets everything wrong?

      SIMON: I beg your pardon?

      GEORGE: Oh, yes, the lads frequently gather round the T.V. set to watch her for a giggle. Once we even all sat down and wrote these letters saying how gear she was and all that rubbish.

      SIMON: She’s a trend setter. It’s her profession!

      GEORGE: She’s a drag. A well-known drag. We turn the sound down on her and say rude things.

      SIMON: Get him out of here!

      GEORGE: (genuinely surprised) Have I said something amiss?

      SIMON: Get him out of here!! He’s knocking the programme’s image!!!

      The underlings hustle GEORGE to the door.

      GEORGE: (smiling) Sorry about the shirts.

      ~appos to alun owen – a hard day’s night~

      Posted by guinsPen on 03/21 at 12:24 AM • permalink


    1. guinsPen,

      I recognized the dialogue right away. Good one.

      Posted by JDB on 03/21 at 12:42 AM • permalink


    1. Dowd is … the most influential columnist of our time.

      Kinsley meant influential in style, not substance. Dowd intersperses the personal with the political in a very clever way, which is why she won a Pulitzer prize for her coverage of Clinton’s peccadillos. The full quote is as follows:

      Dowd wisely ignored me and proceeded to reinvent the political column as a comedy of manners and a running commentary on the psychopathologies of power. It is the first real innovation in this tired literary form since Walter Lippmann

      Posted by Jack on 03/21 at 01:23 AM • permalink


    1. Jack — In other words, she brought the sensibility of a gossip queen to politics…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/21 at 01:40 AM • permalink


    1. Speaking of “journalists”, Margo’s new website is open for business (or should that be buisenss?) here.

      Posted by kisdm001 on 03/21 at 01:41 AM • permalink


    1. And it’s right on form:

      part of something much huger


      Posted by kisdm001 on 03/21 at 01:45 AM • permalink


    1. kidsm001 — And if it’s really stylish, would that be a “hip huger?”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/21 at 02:18 AM • permalink


    1. Kinsley meant influential in style, not substance.

      In a way, I might agree, but not the way that punk Kinsley thinks.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 03/21 at 03:19 AM • permalink


    1. OT
      Diggers in clash with UN Jordanian “peacekeeper” sex abusers in East timor.
      “AUSTRALIAN soldiers drew arms to protect themselves from Jordanian peacekeepers after a Digger blew the whistle on other Jordanian soldiers’ sexual abuse of East Timorese boys.

      Corporal Andrew Wratten had to be evacuated and Australian commandos sent to protect Diggers in Oecussi, an East Timorese province in Indonesian West Timor, after he told the UN of the pedophilia that occurred in May 2001.

      The Australians drew their Steyr assault rifles after being confronted by Jordanians armed with M-16s, in an escalation of verbal threats triggered by the later betrayal of Corporal Wratten by a Jordanian officer in the Dili headquarters of the UN Transitional Administration in East Timor. …”,5744,12607859%5E2702,00.html

      Posted by davo on 03/21 at 03:29 AM • permalink


    1. Les Carlyon raises an interesting point – did falling standards of journalism, presumably correlated with the ascendancy of the trade union movement, necessitate the proprietors seeking advertisements to remain profitable?

      Did that then produce publications, no longer needing to rely unbiassed and cogently reported news and op-eds, which could afford to suffer lower standards of journalism?

      I used to be a devoted Bulletin subscriber (and Australian Business Mag too) but stopped my subs. when it lurched to the left. Max rescued it,

      Tim now reckons it is back on track and I’ll make up my mind by buying a copy to read on the flight to Sydney on Wednesday.

      If it has lurched back to what it used to be, I’ll be tempted to renew.

      Posted by Louis on 03/21 at 06:22 AM • permalink


    1. Re:20


      I recently read Carmen Bin Ladin’s book “the Veiled Kingdom”.

      She was married to one of Osama’s relatives.

      One chapter describes the pervasive homosexuality in Arab society.

      Another reference to Arab homosexuality was a story by ? Petronella Wyatt ? in the Spectator magazine some years back describing a visit to some famous Arab city (Tangiers ?, Timbuktu ?) which is another centre famous for its homosexuality.

      Is it ethnic or religious?

      And then there is the totally unsubstantiated anecdote that syphillis is a camel disease which was “somehow” transmitted to Europe during the “Crusades”.

      Pedophilia, whether hetero- or homosexual, is abhorrent – essentially the practice of wily adults manipulating naive children for selfish gratification.

      Homosexuality is another matter – best interpreted as a species specific, population regulation mechanism, or do drone bees do it with drone bees, since they can’t get to the queen bee. Hence potential breeding males waste their seed in fallow fields. (as Jar Jar Binks would have said, “Wise be the Force”.

      Be that it may, ultimately it reduces to the respect for individual rights.  This, itself, raises more red herrings than I would like to raise here.  However some thoughts.

      Rape, while thought by humans as acceptable for monkeys and worms and pigeons, is unacceptable when it involves humans personally.

      Infanticide, practised routinely by most Aboriginal peoples, is now frowned on but we have little feeling for the fate of crocodile hatchlings which are eaten by their own (possible) fathers in the mangroves of the tropics. Nor are we too concerned with a lioness’s litter when a competing male kills all the male cubs, as often replayed in gory detail on television.

      These facts lead me to muse over the idea that it is the human’s ability to abstain from instinctive behaviour that distinguishes the human from the animal.

      If a young man offers the excuse that “it was “mi ‘oremones’” which made me screw the chick, ( not discounting the fact that it takes two to tango), that is yet another example of the rejection of personal responsibility for our own actions as civil individuals.

      Is it possible to modify human behaviour by training as Pavlov, who I assume, whose teachings (might) have influenced Lysenko, who himself believed that education could produce correct (in a political sense)individuals?

      Easter is on us and I have other matters to think about.

      Posted by Louis on 03/21 at 07:07 AM • permalink


    1. One wonders who the second most influential journalist is.

      Posted by Mystery Meat on 03/21 at 08:56 PM • permalink


  1. Lysenko did not simply believe that educatin could produce people who thought correctly.  He believed that changes he induced in the somatic cells of a body, such as “accustoming” corn to sprouting in snow, could be inherited by future generations descended from those plants.  In other words, if you made changes in people the right way their children would inherit those changes, stronger muscles, for example.

    None of these inheritance of acaquired characteristics clowns paid any attention to thousands of years of Jewish circumcisions, of course.  If acquired modifications could be inherited, a foreskin-less Jewish boy was the primary candidate for it.

    Posted by Michael Lonie on 03/22 at 05:35 AM • permalink