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Big Media Has Betrayed Honest Journalism

By Carl Langley
web posted October 25, 2008
GUEST COLUMN – I received an e-mail a couple of days ago from a retired newspaperman I had the joy of working with years ago. Ken Boswell was a fine reporter but he gave up the business to take a job with a county government in Georgia.

In his e-mail to me he expressed the depression that has overtaken him during the current presidential race. The quadrennial political struggle is an American hallmark, but is now a contest in which Ken’s believes our once proud profession has lost its soul.

“Perhaps it is just me,“ he said in his letter in which he condemned the role the media has taken with its overwhelmingly blatant support for Barack Obama, the new darling of the political left and a pre-ordained president barring a miracle of sorts.

I assured Ken he was not alone in his thinking. There are many of us out here who feel the same way Ken does. If Prentice Palmer, a young man I hired away from a country weekly more than 40 years ago, was alive today he would feel the same way.

Ken, Prentice and I were working soul mates. We worked in an era when newspapers’ news pages were supposed to be temples of truth, honesty and objectivity. Our news pages were not sold out to individual candidates or political parties.

Prentice ended his career writing for the Atlanta newspapers and was so great at his work that on his death he was given a Page 1 obituary filled with praise for his work as a legislative and investigative reporter.

I read his obituary and thought back to the time he had failed a spelling test for his hiring at the Augusta newspapers. I told the personnel director and managing editor I could handle the spelling but I couldn’t write like Prentice. He was hired.

If he were living today Prentice would be among the loudest of voices condemning the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times and the major television networks for their outward displays of bias in this presidential election.

The only good news here is all of these publications whose editorial souls have been prostituted are on the way out. The dwindling numbers among us who can still read are fleeing the major newspapers and viewers are switching channels. Big Media is bleeding revenues, cutting jobs and downsizing the product. Hopefully, in 10 years they all will be tucked away in history bins.

During the years I worked as a reporter, editor, managing editor, editorial writer and columnist the rule was that bias in our news stories and on our news pages would not be tolerated. Opinion was restricted to the editorial pages and violating that prohibition would invite immediate termination. But the game has changed and no one in authority at the major media utters words of protest. In fact, the higher ups have become accomplices or manipulators of this journalistic sin.

Ken said Prentice told him shortly before his death that he was ashamed to tell people he had once worked as a reporter. Ken said he told Prentice he was of the same mind. I join them in their declarations and am proud to be in their company.

What is worse than the news media, including newspapers, magazines, television and radio, going in the tank for one side or the other, is the impoliteness of the modern press and the all-too-frequent purple prose and words that we now hear.

For sure, we now have a population burdened by an inability to read and write our language properly, but that’s no excuse for gutter language, off-color remarks and invective that sometimes turns the air blue. There is no longer room for polite political discourse and advocates for every political stripe dull our minds with their ranting and raving.

The television networks’ political commentary aired through late night comedy shows has not only been insulting but often obscene. I no longer watch these vile shows but read the reports about them. They are not pretty.

I know for a fact that everything of value and the standards many of us still hold dear have been abandoned by the mainstream media and they now are fair game for those who take every opportunity to disparage God, country, family and every thread of the fabric that once shielded our people and our nation.

God save the USA, although there are many among us who don’t deserve salvation.


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