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Big Media Has Betrayed Honest Journalism
By Carl Langley
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
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
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
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
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
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