Sunday, November 30, 2008

Professing Ignorance

It was a bad week for journalism ethics professors.

First, one from Washington and Lee University crawled down for his ivory tower to boldly proclaim that those phony documents used by 60 Minutes in the infamous Bush-National Guard story four years ago STILL have yet to be proven as inauthentic.

As time goes on, the defenders of this 60 Minutes story appear more and more like the Japanese soldiers found still fighting WWII decades after their nation's surrender.

The chore of deprogramming the professor falls to Scott Johnson of Power Line and he is brutally efficient. Excerpt:
Wasserman cites the Thornburgh-Boccardi report in support of his argument here, but It is hard to believe that Wasserman has read it. If he has read it, this professor of journalism ethics needs to be reminded that it's not ethical to withhold from your readers relevant evidence directly contradicting your thesis.
A second journalism ethics professor, this time from some college in Canada, picked a fight with another rather hard target, Mark Steyn. It has to do with Steyn's continuing problems with the Human Rights Tribunals in the Great White North, a 3-year-old book review he published in Maclean's magazine, and the Ayatollah Khomenei's advice on what to do with the meat of an animal with which you may have copulated. Seriously.

It's all covered in this laugh out loud and devastating post by Steyn. Excerpt:
.... so why would a prissy PC drone like Prof Miller be so cavalier as to expose himself as entirely ignorant of the subject he's loftily pontificating on? Not for the first time you realise that, for the lazy white liberal, driving around with a "CELEBRATE DIVERSITY" sticker absolves one from having to take the slightest interest in other cultures.
Plus, there are about a dozen variations of euphemisms for unnatural relations with sheep. Amazingly, none are gratuitous, all are integral to the plot. Example:
In other words, anyone who had the most casual acquaintance with the Ayatollah's writings would be aware not only that it's not in the least bit surprising but entirely par for the course that the old boy had complex rules re using your embraceable ewe for the Friday night kebab special.
The pathetic positions advocated by the Professors in these two dust-ups do not reflect well on the state of journalism instruction in our institutions of higher learning.

I think the problem is they have too much time on their hands. Journalism in this day and age is just so ethical, the journalism ethics professoriate has nothing to study and they are relegated to grasping at straws.

I can only hope this level of sloppy teaching doesn't start to negatively affect the quality of our journalists in the future.

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