Drudgification :: Buchanan on Newsweek :: Sorry, I have to write more…

Pat Buchanan stated on The McLaughlin Group that Newsweek’s Koran story was “seditious”. That is absolute lunacy. Pat Buchanan is throwing bombs with that statement. It is so over the top as to be irresponsible. His statement is just as irresponsible as the mullahs that used the Newsweek story to inflame crowds in Afghanistan. Seriously.

Sedition is “rebellion against the authority of a state” that aims at starting “a revolt, disturbance, or violence against lawful civil authority with the intent to cause its overthrow or destruction.” Buchanan will have to prove the intent of Newsweek to prove his point. He won’t. He can’t.

From his own website, American Cause, Buchanan proclaims, “The American Cause is an educational organization whose mission is to advance and promote traditional American values that are rooted in the conservative principles of national sovereignty, economic patriotism, limited government, and individual freedom.” Well, his actions, by making that ludicrous statement, run directly counter to his mission statement.

If the story is true. It should be reported. Freedom of the press is crucial to protect all people. The press roots out evil. This is a good thing. The days of the press sitting on stories are gone. This isn’t the 1940’s and FDR. Live in the real world, Pat Buchanan.

Some thoughts I’ve been having while watching all of this play out in the media.

The problem with the Newsweek story is the all too often used practice of publishing stories solely from anonymous sources. Further, the greater problem is the practice of publishing stories with only one source. Periscope isn’t the only tactic used by a publication to report blurbs (13 words in this instance) to try and move a story along. Newsweek was floating a story. They hoped it would kick up interest. If they had the facts the story would have been a much larger piece, if not a cover story.

Too much of mainstream journalism has become “Drudge“-like. This is sad.

When Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle, despite his socialist leanings, he still had principles. And, he reported the truth. When Drew Pearson and Jack Anderson were writing Washington Merry-Go-Round they were muckrakers and that was not a bad thing. They, at least, had principles. When 60 Minutes starting doing “gotcha” ambush interviews, they at least had principles. Today, the profit driven mainstream press has slowly been eroded to the point that they are opening themselves up to challenges from citizen journalism. I’ve read all of those writers and Matt Drudge couldn’t wipe their shoes. Drudge gives muck a bad name.

The true irony of Matt Drudge is that his father is Bob Drudge, the editor of refdesk. Bob writes of his son, ” Matt calls himself a “Citizen Reporter,” and his work has come to symbolize First Amendment issues on the Net.” You’ll note that he doesn’t write ‘how’ or ‘why’ he has become a symbol for First Amendment issues.

Another irony? It was Michael Isikoff that had the Monica Lewinsky story first. Drudge made his name on the story. Isikoff did not run the story until after it was published by Drudge.

Mr. Isikoff is, famously, the journalist who discovered the liaison between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky, and it was his reporting that led to impeachment proceedings against the president.

I honestly wish this ‘drudgification’ process wasn’t happening. I yearn for the days when you could pick up a newspaper or turn on a newscast and have faith that you were hearing the truth. More and more, that is not the case. I believe that Bob Drudge’s refdesk is likely a trustwrothy source. I can’t say that for Matt Drudge.

It is time to rally ’round the flag, folks. No, I don’t mean the American flag. I mean the flag of honesty and truthful practices in journalism.

Here is the saddest part. The vast majority of journalists ‘are’ honest and ‘do’ seek the truth. These rare exceptions of shoddy reporting are taken by too many as the rule.

So, do your part Newsweek. Clean house. Regroup. Do your part in reclaiming the integrity of journalism.

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