Another article worth reading?

Browsing the Guardian, I came across an article in which Roy Greenslade refers /links to another one by Carl Bernstein (Watergate etc) on the nature of the American press/journalism (in 1992).  It reflects some of my concerns about journalists as teachers (which they are) …. as the main conduits for information about the wider world for most people.  On what basis are editorial decisions made, not just about news but more generally on what is valuable/worthwhile for people to know?  There’s no easy answers, but a lot of the signs Bernstein rails against in this essay are still there, and still of concern for anyone interested in who people frame their world view and their values.  Here’s what Greenslade says and the link to the original:

“It’s an excellent essay that has proved to be prescient. I quote from it during my City University lectures (a new series of which start today, incidentally) because it sums up my own fears about the wayward direction journalism has taken and is taking.

My favourite extract:

“For more than fifteen years we have been moving away from real journalism toward the creation of a sleazoid info-tainment culture in which the lines between Oprah and Phil and Geraldo and Diane and even Ted, between
the New York Post and Newsday, are too often indistinguishable.

In this new culture of journalistic titillation, we teach our readers and our viewers that the trivial is significant, that the lurid and the loopy are more important than real news. We do not serve our readers and viewers, we pander to them.”

Remember, he wrote that in 1992.”   You’ll find Bernstein’s piece in pdf form at:

The Idiot Culture

.. and Bernstein’s own website at:

Carl Bernstein


One thought on “Another article worth reading?

  1. Also worth looking up John Pilger (Hidden Agendas for example) and reading his observations about ‘fast’ versus ‘slow’ news. Often the most important stories fall within the ‘slow’ category and so don’t satisfy the news media’s hunger for the new, the shocking, the extreme etc. It’s a real chicken and egg scenario though, are the news media simply fulfilling the public’s demand for this type of stuff, or are they complicit in creating this demand in the first place. As with all things its a no doubt a bit of both.

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