Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Journalism 101

Glenn Greenwald and other liberals in the blogosphere have been criticizing respected Time reporter Joe Klein for writing a piece about attempts to reform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) that had a few minor factual errors and accused the Democrats of giving "terrorists the same legal protections as Americans." Time's Managing Editor Rick Stengel eventually responded to the criticism by appending a "correction" to the piece that said, "In the original version of this story, Joe Klein wrote that the House Democratic version of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) would allow a court review of individual foreign surveillance targets. Republicans believe the bill can be interpreted that way, but Democrats don't." That should have ended the controversy right there, but Greenwald persisted, writing, "All Time can say about this matter is that Republicans say one thing and Democrats claim another. Who is right? Is one side lying? What does the bill actually say, in reality? That's not for Time to say. After all, they're journalists, not partisans." Now, like Joe Klein, I have neither the time nor legal background to figure out who's right, but I do know a little something about journalism since I once saw All the President's Men and I worked on my high school newspaper, so I think it would be helpful if bloggers knew the 20 basic "Rules of Journalism" so that they won't pester Joe Klein and other professional journalists too much about journalistic ethics in the future. If any real journalists think I've written something that is inaccurate, let me know and I'll just append a correction way down at the end of the post or delete the inaccuracy altogether and hopefully no one will notice.

The Rules of Journalism

1. Journalists must be completely objective. This is the most important rule of journalism. Objectivity means not having any opinion or feelings whatsoever no matter what the circumstances. This rule was best expressed in a line I recently quoted from Washington Post columnist David Broder, the dean of American journalism, about his response President Kennedy's assassination: "As an ordinary man, I wanted leave the scene, hide somewhere, and weep," Broder said. "But I managed to calm myself and to report the event in the most objective way." As I explained in my earlier piece, "Broder refused to take sides after the President was killed. Was he for the assassination or against it? It was impossible to tell from his reporting. No matter what his personal feelings might have been, as a reporter he had to be objective when it came to whether killing Kennedy was a good thing or a bad thing."

2. There are two sides to every story and a journalist must give both sides equal weight even if he or she knows one side is completely false. Weighing one side against the other violates a journalist's objectivity. (See Rule No. 1.)

3. The only exception to Rules 1 and 2 is that during wartime journalists must be patriotic and not write anything that might undermine the government or the war effort or lower morale. Wearing a flag pin on one's lapel is a good way to demonstrate you are adhering to this rule. Reporters should always remember that they are Americans first, journalists second and human beings third.

4. Because most journalists are liberals, they have to bend over backwards to consider the conservative viewpoint in their articles so that it all evens out in the end. (See Rule No. 1.)

5. If you criticize a Republican you must also criticize a Democrat. If you criticize President Bush, you must also criticize President Clinton.

6. If both liberals and conservatives criticize you, that must mean you are doing something right. If moderates criticize you, too, it probably means that they are leaning one way or the other and aren't really moderate at all. The more people who say you are wrong, the more objective, and hence right, you are. (See Rule No. 1.)

7. Journalists should avoid using anonymous sources unless those sources have a reasonable fear of retribution or have political agendas that would be compromised if their identities were revealed or if refusing to grant them anonymity would limit the journalist's access and give his or her competitors an unfair advantage, which could damage the journalist's career.

8. Journalists must always protect their anonymous sources no matter what those sources' agendas might be and even if those sources misled them or were using them to get back at a political opponent. As Richard Cohen has pointed out, using journalists to publish leaks to assassinate the character of an anonymous source's political opponents is a time-honored tradition and the life-blood of Washington journalism. A journalist's job is to facilitate what Cohen calls "the dark art of Washington politics" not pass judgment on it, which would compromise his or her objectivity. (See Rule No. 1.)

9. Rule No. 8 is so important that journalists should be willing to go to jail to protect anonymous sources, unless someone pressures those sources to sign a waiver or the reporter thinks going to jail would just be too much of a hardship to endure. Besides, you can't do any reporting when you are in jail.

10. Journalists should be as accurate as possible, but sometimes there is not enough time to dot every i and cross every t. Getting the story first is more important than getting it completely right because mistakes can always be fixed with "Corrections" in very small print in another edition, in online "updates" or buried in the "Letters to the Editor" section, which no one ever reads.

11. Journalists should not give money to any political campaigns, participate in any political activities or even vote. Former ABC political director Mark Halperin and Washington Post editor Len Downie don't vote, which is why they are so trustworthy and so respected by other journalists. Just as Catholic priests give up sex, journalists should give up their right to participate in the political process so that they will not have to think too much about whether one side or another is correct. Thinking too hard threatens their objectivity. (See Rule No. 1.)

12. Journalists should not censor a story unless the government or a big advertiser asks them to.

13. Because space in newspapers and magazines is limited there is no room for ideas that are too far out of the mainstream or that challenge the conventional wisdom unless the ensuing controversy would sell more papers or magazines.

14. Plagiarism is strongly discouraged and anyone caught plagiarizing should be fired immediately and never be allowed to work as a journalist again, unless they are prominent or distinguished or a close personal friend of the editor and have a really good explanation, in which case they should be given a second chance or even a third.

15. What someone says is not so important as how they said it, what they were wearing when they said it, or their body language. As long as the details are accurate, it makes no difference how trivial those details are. Journalists should just report the facts, especially facts that give their story "color," and not worry about how important those facts are. (See Rule No. 1.)

16. Reporting on people's personal lives should be avoided unless the Drudge Report or the National Enquirer has already written about it, in which case you can report that they reported on it, which is not the same as reporting on it yourself.

17. Every prominent person should be assumed to be not gay unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary or they are dead, and usually not even then.

18. Victims of sexual crimes should never be named, but those accused of sexual crimes should be named even if their reputations are ruined because they probably wouldn't have been arrested if they weren't guilty of something. Shaming people accused of sexual crimes on television is a good way to discourage other people from committing such crimes, even if it leads to unfortunate consequences.

19. Ruining people's lives is generally frowned upon and should be avoided if at all possible unless the public has a right to know. A journalist must be completely dispassionate and not worry too much about the impact of the story they are writing on the people they are writing about or on the world in general as that would compromise their objectivity. (See Rule No. 1.)

20. If someone criticizes a journalist's reporting, especially if it is a blogger, the best response is to dig in one's heels and deny there is a problem, attack the critic as biased, concede a minor point or claim the criticism itself is trivial. A journalist must defend his or her credibility at all costs because without credibility, a journalist is no journalist at all.
-30-

Update: Go here for some reaction to this piece.

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75 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Swift,

Goodness, that objectivity you speak of sounds like hard work. In your experience, what is the best path to objectivity? Can you major in objectivity at school? (And if you can, do you still have to take journalism classes?) Also, I confess, I'm just a wee bit confused about this objectivity of which you speak. Is it the same as objectivism? I've notice a lot of really good journalists mentioned objectivism as if it was some kind of religion. Are theology classes part of the curriculum? Again, I'm a bit confused. I got the hard work part but I'm not sure how many Ann Rand novels I need to read to be on my way to being objective.

As always,

A objectively devoted reader

PhD9 said...

Getting the story first is more important than getting it completely right because mistakes can always be fixed with "Corrections" in very small print in another edition

You failed to mention that one of the most reliable ways of ensuring that you get the story first is to completely fabricate it from the start. That way, barring mindreading, you can never be scooped by the competition!

billy bob tweed said...

Re: Point #18. Dateline sure has gone whole-hog on the "To Catch a Predator" series. Granted, it's a train wreck, and people like watching that stuff. You might have believed NBC's crack investigative news division would have sufficiently exhausted the topic after their 10th hour of prime-time sting footage and Chris-asks-the-pedophile-why? interviews, but you'd be wrong. Objective news reporting means an endless parade of deviants and perverts, in prime-time. It's a shame NBC can't divert 10% of their perv-squad budget to a single "Dateline: To Catch A War Criminal" prime time special.

danps said...

You forgot rule #21:

No correction is too small to make ("He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in college and not a Bachelor of Science as we reported. We regret the error.") but some are too large ("We uncritically passed along government propaganda for months and actively misled our readers as they contemplated the most serious action a nation can take. We regret the error.")

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you think you are clever. You are not a conservative because most conservatives go on to graduate from college.

So you are a liberal, and you thought you could create a persona that you could then put up for ridicule. Funny stuff.

You may end up falling from your high perch and break your noodle!

Anonymous said...

"...most conservatives go on to graduate from college."

I must have missed all those college-educated conservatives living in trailer parks throughout the South.

As you say, "funny stuff."

Anonymous said...

wow...you really don't have a clue. that becomes obvious in rule one...and patently obvious in rule two. klein is not a journalist. he is a columnist. like oreilly and limbaugh, and yes especially broder, he spends his time carrying the water of the republicans. he used this bill to denegrate the democrats, saying they are weak on security based upon faulty conclusions. then when called on it said he didn't have time to figure it out. so now 4 million readers have gotten the wrong idea because he doesn't have the f'ing time to do his job. and schmoes like you think thats ok-fine because you once watched a fictional account of real journalists doing real journalism and getting it right. get a clue. and oh by the way...if you were blogging back in the 70's you would have been ranting about how the washington post was simply guilty of nixon derangment syndrome. f'ing idiot.

Anonymous said...

My anon. friends above at 616am and 659am seems to be fitting in to what, lets say #20 or maybe another one?

Thoughts?

Jarod said...

Yeah! I hate it when people just don't get it. F'in idiots.

tim quick said...

It's not a rule per se, but I think Joe Klein also provided journalists with a valuable model of how to proceed when he wrote a book about a president he didn't like which seemed to confirm that many of the wildest, fringe rumors being spread about that president were true and did so anonymously, then did nothing to discourage people from thinking that this account had been written by someone close to that president with inside information that these awful rumors were in fact true.

Anonymous said...

i'm anon 6:59...and i guess i missed the subtlety. my apologies.

Carl said...

9. Rule No. 8 is so important that journalists should be willing to go to jail to protect anonymous sources, unless someone pressures those sources to sign a waiver or the reporter thinks going to jail would just be too much of a hardship to endure. Besides, you can't do any reporting when you are in jail.

And the aspens might die without you seeing them.

Brad said...

This is completely idiotic. Comment #3 is absurd. And the idea of placing being an American ahead of being a human?

#12 is height of idiocy. How can you ever write anything critical of the government in this case? How can ever right anything critical of anything with media and business so consolidated that there is no hope of ever writing anything critical about the government without upsetting an advertiser? What a moron.

Carl said...

Anonymous said...
Dear Mr. Swift,

Goodness, that objectivity you speak of sounds like hard work. In your experience, what is the best path to objectivity?


Ignorance.

Don't do any reading. Don't think. Don't ponder. Don't talk to anyone who might be knowledgable. Don't discuss anything with anyone, except other journalists, whom, you can be assured, will remain objective.

Transcribe what the administration says, write the article, then go to the bar and tell everyone what a scoop you landed.

THAT'S how to remain objective!

Carl said...

Anonymous said...
I'm sure you think you are clever. You are not a conservative because most conservatives go on to graduate from college.


Except of course the egg-head liberals who go on to graduate school, earn doctorates, and then attain tenure as professors....

Anonymous said...

is anyone else really disturbed that so many of the posters don't get that swift is being sarcastic?
i mean, it's not exactly subtle.

Anonymous said...

i'm anon 6:59...who didn't get the subtlety.
i guess it's a lousy excuse but i am so used to seeing extreme-far-right blogs that, frankly, are very similar in their ridiculousness. for instance broder deciding between being for or against asasination...i could see that discussion on many rightie blogs. when you have rove coming out and saying that the democrats forced bush into war...well how do you seperate parody and reality?
also...i'm pretty busy and clearly i just didn't read it that closely.
actually this is very well written and i'm very embarrased.

ron said...

i always wondered what would happen if "to catch a predator" ended up luring a 16 year old boy posing as an older guy into their entrapment scheme. i would hope the cops would then arrest all of them.

grumpy said...

i'm anon 6:59...who didn't get the subtlety.
i guess it's a lousy excuse but i am so used to seeing extreme-far-right blogs that, frankly, are very similar in their ridiculousness. ...well how do you seperate parody and reality?


You almost can't. I have been saying for awhile now that satire is dead. Seriously I don't blame you in the least for not catching it. It is almost impossible to tell these days. It is maddening and painful actually... it is painful that perfectly decent, intelligent individuals can no longer tell the difference. It really says something about the situation we are in.

To be honest I have completely lost my sense of humor with regard to the state America is in and I no longer appreciate bright minds, such as this Swift character, wasting their talents on unrecognizable satire when they could be leading the "dirty masses." Comic relief is essential in life but when certain forms of it can no longer be distinguished from the reality in which we find ourselves, it amounts to a waste of time. It amounts to fiddling while everything burns down around us.

But then Mr. Swift and those like him are just doing what they are willing/capable of doing I guess.

moneymonk said...

Sheesh! What's Greenwald's problem? Doesn't he have children to raise, or golf to play? Perhaps some ivories to tickle? He is so high on his horse about Ethics and Truth and Reality blah blah blah that he thinks he's better than Joe Klein? Joe Klein has 40 million readers, Glen! Do the math, bro. If you got your readers together armed with lattes and Rimbaud and those jackets with leather patches, and tried to attack Joe Klein's readers, all 40 million of them, armed with remote controls and duct tape and 40 million rolled up Time magazines who do you think would be victorious, Glen?
History is written by the winners. Swift and I: winners. Are you a winner... Glen?

liquiddaddy said...

Jon,

Joe Klein was once a journalist. His campaign reporting for Newsweek in 1992 was only borderline hackery, and almost "objective," although Bob Somersby might take issue with me on that point.

Now he is, to quote Atrios, guilty of, "Richard Cohen level hackery." He sold out to the cocktail weenie mindset. He is mendacious and petty, yes; however, I feel he is mostly too rich and lazy. For him to continually assert the meme of Democrats being weak on national security, and still be deemed a liberal commentator by the likes of Timmeh and Tweety is frustrating.

LD

spencer said...

is anyone else really disturbed that so many of the posters don't get that swift is being sarcastic?

I try to just pretend that they're playing along, but I can't make myself believe it.

spencer said...

actually this is very well written and i'm very embarrased.

Well, at least no one knows who you are, right? So just pretend it never happened. I mean, some say it did, but others say it didn't. Who knows which is true?

Il Douche said...

Bad stenographer! "Joe Klein" is misspelled; should be "Joke Line." Please make a note of it.

Jack said...

This is for moneymonk. So you argue the old might is right formula, do you? I suppose the Chinese were right in Tianamen square, Hitler was right about the deathcamps, and the U.S. was right about slavery.

I think you mean might is right when you think you have the might. But be careful with your assumptions: As for me, boyo, I can take down thousands of those remote-wielding lardbuckets.

Stupidity has one fundamental flaw. It cannot prevail because it cannot figure out how things work.

Julia said...

Whatever. Klein did the same thing when he was first outed as Anonymous. Same partisan sniping behind a veil of professional objectivity, same personal attacks, same outraged dignity, same insistence that he should be treated as though he were not a liar despite the fact that he's lying.

He's not an honest man, and his word means nothing.

I'm not sure who over there that's meant to balance.

Michael Plank said...

Anon 6:59, do you deny that you are in fact Joe Klein a/k/a "Anonymous", distinguished author of Primary Colors? Some believe you are, and others don't. I have neither the time nor the background to figure out who's right. Whether you is or you ain't, Mr. Swift will no doubt approve of your continuing efforts on behalf of pseudonym-Americans everywhere.

Anonymous said...

@ grumpy

I have completely lost my sense of humor with regard to the state America is in

I understand where you're coming from, but this is brilliant stuff and humor can be a very potent weapon, especially when your adversaries' main weapon is fear. Humor is a great breaker of spells. I'm not suggesting we should all just sit around replaying Monty Python, but I consider this piece a major satirical contribution to the culture war we're currently fighting, and I hope it gets the widest possible readership.

Anonymous said...

This is presumably US journalism. In the UK things are much simpler. Our government is Labour and a result of voter error. It follows that everything the government does is wrong and that voters (who are also readers) will be glad to know this. The result is so simple it can be expressed as a short computer program.

If government has done anything recently then criticise it

Else, if you can think of something, give an alternative theory for death of Diana Princess of Wales

Else, if you can think of something, give alternative theory for disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Else show tits

This is incredibly efficient as it removes any need for time consuming research and stories can be prepared in advance with perhaps some last minute name changes and added detail according to taste. It also appeals to readers (although they are rather disloyally buying less and less newspapers).

sue said...

Mr. Swift, I'm surprised you did not mention the importance of maintaining a visual presence on the teevee in order to be considered a real journalist and one to be taken seriously. It matters little what you say if you don't have the approval of the experts who have earned their positions thru years of exacting journalism rewarded by their promotions to the big time.

Respectfully, Sandbar

Carl said...

Jack said...
This is for moneymonk. So you argue the old might is right formula, do you? I suppose the Chinese were right in Tianamen square, Hitler was right about the deathcamps, and the U.S. was right about slavery.


I'm sorry...we were wrong? Hm. I may have to take that lawn jockey down...

Anonymous said...

Sad that our clueless commenter have no idea who Jonathan Swift is. I mean, shouldn't that be the first tipoff?

I guess it would be, in a culture which valued literature.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I couldn't even make it past Rule 2! Being objective is not reporting statements that are knowingly false. Rather, that is lying.

Being objective (at least how you define it) should not the primary goal in journalism. Being factual and evidence-based should be the goal. The more factual and evidence-based, the better the journalism.

Anonymous said...

2. There are two sides to every story and a journalist must give both sides equal weight even if he or she knows one side is completely false. Weighing one side against the other violates a journalist's objectivity.

This is a huge load of excrement. No, there are NOT two sides to every story. Sometimes there are 100 sides. But abdicating your journalistic responsibility to point out clear and obvious lies is the violation of objectivity.

Objectivity means not buying into a dogma. It does not mean giving equal weight to both NASA and the flat-earth society. If the facts support one side, and do not support the other, then you are being remiss by not stating that.

This isn't "He said/she said" stuff. This is reporting on factual errors made by someone who chose to interpret rather than report on the bill. If you can't be bothered to take the time to read the bill yourself, then you have no place trying to rebutt the people who did read it.

jvill said...

I must say I am really enjoying all the people who aren't getting that this is a satire blog...

"Wow, I couldn't even make it past Rule 2! Being objective is not reporting statements that are knowingly false. Rather, that is lying."

Yeah, you lying monkeys!!! Take That!!!

Batocchio said...

Brilliant job! I've written a few pieces on this subject (as have many bloggers), and have been planning a series of key rules, but yours is quite complete and more entertaining! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase, you can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.

-ww

Anonymous said...

"Being objective is not reporting statements that are knowingly false."

But how do you know they are "knowingly false"? Knowing things will obviously compromise your objectivity, thereby violating rule #1.

And remember, your job as a reporter is not to report on what is true or false - that's the job of scientists and the like (and they are probably biased so make sure you find a dissenting point of view!) Your job as a reporter is to report what other people think is true or false. Reality can be confusing - it's probably best to just avoid it and report what other people think reality is.

Chuck Butcher said...

Sheesh,
I wasted a bunch of words on objective journalism and Swift out does me whilst laughing up his sleeve. I feel the need of a high place from which to toss myself.

Unanimous said...

Gather round children I'm only going to say this once.
Except for PBS, journalists in America are not publicly funded. Journalists are privately funded Whores whose rate of pay is directly proportional to their ability to represent the interests of those who are paying them. Like David Brooks, Chis Matthews and David Broder, Joe Klein is a very successful whore.
Thank you,
Unanimous

Deb Lagarde said...

You know I really do think the majority of Americans have lost their sense of humor...are they not teaching satire in high school English anymore? No one's ever heard of Gulliver's Travels? Or, for you Gen x'ers, Stephen Colbert?

I thought not!

Jim said...

After reading some of these comments, I know of one thing harder than objectivity.

Irony.

Anonymous said...

History is written by the winners. Swift and I: winners. Are you a winner... Glen?"

History is written by those who stick around.

Porlock Junior said...

Several people refer to Joe Klein's book Primary Colors and his righteous denials when accused of having written it. Oddly, everyone has forgotten the key point.

The big story came when an expert on computerized analysis of writing style (durned if I remember his name, goldurnit) declared that the anonymous book had been written by Klein, who was a managing editor or some such thing at Newsweek. (Dr. Forgotten Name's work was and is highly respected for its accuracy.) Klein didn't just deny it, he really reeely denied it.

Joe Klein said he staked his professional reputation on it, that he didn't write the thing.

A few weeks later, it was proved, and he confessed, that he did write it.

Newsweek, of course, fired him on the spot, as a respectable publication that couldn't afford to lose its professional reputation by employing such a highly placed journalist when he'd lost all his professional reputation. You remember how he was fired, don't you? And how he never got another journalistic job? Hey, if you don't, just go and eat some Irish babies, you cynic.

moneymonk said...

Jack-

You can take my ideas out of context all you want, but don't get me entangled with your belief that "the Chinese were right in Tianamen (sic) square, Hitler was right about the deathcamps, and the U.S. was right about slavery." I don't go in for shock for shock's sake, which I think is your goal.
By lashing out at me, you are giving safe-haven to the enemy: subjectivity. You need to go home, place your left hand on a copy of Primary Colors, hold that right hand high, and swear to do your best from here forward to conquer the enemy within you, and allow Objectivity to flourish into a magnificent blossom. *sniffle*

Carl said...

Anonymous said...
And remember, your job as a reporter is not to report on what is true or false - that's the job of scientists and the like


WHAT?!?!?!?!

That is the job of the church, good sir! How dare drag those heathen atheists onto this blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I couldn't get past
"1. Journalists must be completely objective. "

and your statement that
"Since the media is biased I get all my news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and Jay Leno monologues."

My head just exploded. You're kidding, right?

JH Daniel said...

Isn't it funny how sarcasm gets lost in translation?

I do have one clarification (not to be confused with a correction)

Journalists shouldn't censor an article. Ever. That's what editors are for.

If any of you would like to compare the real code of journalism ethics to this blogger's feel free to check out the society of professional journalists' web site.

http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp

And, yes journalism can be partisan. It's called an editorial.

An even better take, a real journalist's take on this subject can be read here:

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGVlNzk2YmQ4NGZjNjFhZjU4NmE0OGYyOTBhYjNiNDA=

When it comes to a blogger lampooning a journalist for "accuracy" ... I have to laugh ... as a journalist.

Oh, btw, have you guys read the rules of blogging? There's only one:

1. Throwing stones at glass houses is fun! Do it as often as possible!

tim quick said...

How many Joe Kleins does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

I have neither the time nor legal background to figure that out.

Anonymous said...

An even better take, a real journalist's take on this subject can be read here:
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OGVlNzk2YmQ4NGZjNjFhZjU4NmE0OGYyOTBhYjNiNDA=


written by:
Peter Hoekstra (R., Mich.), is the top Republican on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and a JH Daniel's certified "Real Journalist" (trademark pending).

Anonymous said...

Oh, and while I'm at it JH, can you explain what the following paragraph by Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R., Mich.) (who is a real journalist and not at all partisan) means:

Second, Klein was correct in his original contention that the bill recently passed by the House of Representatives “would require the surveillance of every foreign-terrorist target’s call to be approved by the FISA Court.” It is true that one section of the bill states the “clarification” that such an order is not required, but that’s not the end of the story.

So although the bill states that a court order is not required, Klein was correct to suggest it did? Or does the whole paragraph simply implode under it's own internal logic and simply cease to exist?

Will I require another journalist or an editor to make sense of it? What if they don't have the time or expertise to figure it out? Will it be less confusing for me if I receive a bunch of money from the telecom companies?

Carl said...

jh daniel said...
Isn't it funny how sarcasm gets lost in translation?

[...]

Oh, btw, have you guys read the rules of blogging? There's only one:

1. Throwing stones at glass houses is fun! Do it as often as possible!


Unintentional self-referential irony is a beauty to behold.

I don't have a J-school degree, JH, but I'd be happy to discuss the ethics of journalism, if you'll agree that those ethics are in very short supply inside the Beltway.

skippy said...

i finally figured it out. not only is jon swift an incredible satirist so deft with words as to create pieces ambiguous enough to be confusing as to its satirical content, he must also write all of his comments, because they can't possibly all be sincere.

it's all satire. it's all written by swift. in fact, all of my comments here are written by swift. in fact, my blog skippy is written by swift. and if anybody responds to this comment, they will be written by swift as well.

Miss Cellania said...

ll, that's it. No one ever needs to say anything about journalism again, because you've covered it all here.

Anonymous Moose said...

Jernalists tell stories.

I like stories.

Mamma told me a story once about Green Mustache the Pirate Queen, and her loyal First Mate Fatbald. They were plundering the seas looking for fancy shoes. Somehow they found a big stash of carved irony instead.

Grampy said that was a lie. He said they found a chest full of blue satires.

I had neither the time or knowledge to find out who was right.

purvis ames said...

Dear Mr. Swift
While all your rules are commendable you forgot to mention the true purpose of journalism: to make the dull duller, the dumb dumber, and the crazy crazier.

Alan Gregory Wonderwheel said...

Ha..Ha. At first I thought it was a seriouc post then I saw this is satire. Very funny.

moneymonk said...

is this where the striking writers agreed to sublimate? hello...

Anonymous said...

As we say at the Great Orange Satan, 'snark-a-licious' .. or maybe 'snarktastic'.

It's very Swift, that's for certain.

'tip of the hat.

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Mt said...

Mr. Swift, you humility and fortitude astound me. Post after post, you're accused of writing satire. But you never lash out at those doing the accusing. Lesser Americans would have given up by now.

Another great man, perhaps the greatest American since Ronald Reagan, is also being attacked on a daily basis. His name is Rudy and he is destined to lead America against the infidels.

He could use your talents. Perhaps if you served as his press secretary the masses would better understand just how great he is.

kellypea said...

This is a lot of rules. More rules than what are required to get a driver's license in CA. Wait. Everything has more rules that that. Like I said. Long.

HPM said...

you wrote for your high school paper? never would have guessed it. another classic post nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

This is supposed to be satire? This is written way too seriously to be taken as satire. I don't blame anyone that missed that point. It's not the reader's fault, it's the writer's. I'm a satire junky, and when I read this, I thought for sure this was just another nutcase insano republican spiel. I give him credit for the dead on impression, but he over shot on the subtlety mark.

Anonymous said...

This article must be a joke. The only respectable rule I see is No. 1. Unless, of course, you are joking, in which case I found the rules for journalism very entertaining satire.

Anonymous said...

Considering you get your news from Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the like I find it ironic that you feel that journalists should be objective, without opinion or feelings. The Conservative Right Media is hardly objective. Try a little Anderson Cooper or Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull.

I don't have time to delve into all the things that are wrong with your list but in light of your rule #3 I will leave you with this: Rush Limbaugh said he hopes Obama will fail. If Obama fails that means America fails. Deductive reasoning tells me that although he may not realize he said it (Because he's a drug addicted narcissist) Rush is saying he hopes America fails. Very patriotic.

Keep up the propaganda. It's always entertaining to say the least :-)

Jenn said...

Hi (I say meekly)

I'm the 8:43 PM Anonymous commenter tucking her tail between her legs and apologizing. What I coward I am to dog you anonymously.

How sad that I did not know you were kidding.

How deliciously marvelous that I now know you are!

Keep it up :-)

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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6is9 said...

Ha Ha! I'd like to write my own rules of Journalism, too.

Your first sentence of your first rule is wrong. It's the job of the journalist to bring facts to light. Facts can be presented objectively. Once the facts are brought to light then statements about the facts can fairly be reported.

What is not objective journalism is to simply allow people to make unchallenged assertions if the known facts don't support the assertions. To challenge assertions is not to attack the one making the assertions, nor is it necessarily evidence of partisan bias on the part of the journalist. If the journalist has a partisan bias he is less likely to report it through the lens of that bias if he thinks he's getting clarification instead of spin.

It is also not against journalistic principles to present the news with a conservative or a liberal slant. Two things must be present however: the facts in full without omissions and the journalist must be open about his bias.

Finally, a quote from respected conservative William Kristol:

"I admit it, the liberal media were never that powerful, and the whole thing was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures." - The New Yorker, 22 May 1995.

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