Why is it so Difficult for Journalists to Simply Tell the Story?

| June 29, 2010 | 1 Reply

Apropos to this post of mine, I found this article at The American Spectator interesting:

The Al Gore police report is disturbing.

To be specific, it’s 67 pages of the quite graphically disturbing, as posted here by Red State.

You are reading the news of this police report — originally filed in October of 2006 — only because the National Enquirer scooped the story. In June of 2010. You did not read it in the Portland Tribune, which has been on this story since 2007 and failed to tell its readers until the Enquirer broke the story. The Tribune‘s explanation for this is to be found here.

The question here is why didn’t the Portland Tribune publish what they had? Well, says the paper, all they had was an unverified police report. What is missed here is that a police report on a former Vice President of the United States — a man who has emerged even in political defeat as one of the most listened to voices on the planet on environmental issues and global warming — existed. The report itself existed. It was fact. And hence news.

There are two more examples of the same sort of journalistic malfeasance at the link all aiming toward the same point. Journalists in the main are not practicing  journalism but protecting the Establishment (be it a local political establishment or a particular political ideology). The Gore sexual abuse story is a great example. As Mr. Lord points out, the mere existence of a police report is news and should have been reported as news by the local paper. It wasn’t. We only know about the story now because of the National Enquirer’s coverage (and who knew that the Enquirer would be a shining example of journalistic integrity than most other mainstream newspapers?). So why did the Portland Tribune kill the story?

I don’t know the answer to that, but I certainly don’t buy the editor’s explanation. If I ran a newspaper and my people spent a year digging into a story, I’d sure as heck run something. The existence of a police report is news. The odd behavior at the time by the complainant is also news. The story she told, combined with the Gore camps flat denial is also news. It did not require a complicated weighing of values versus professional duty to reach a decision. Tell the story. That, and nothing more, is the job of a journalist.

Why is that so difficult?


Category: Uncategorized

About the Author ()