The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

A Special Kind of Stupid

Posted on | August 31, 2011 | 18 Comments

The New York Times has a story about how major news organizations are assigning kids right out of college to cover the presidential campaign:

For decades, campaign buses were populated by hotshots, some of whom covered politics for decades, from Walter Mears to David S. Broder to Jules Witcover. It was a glamorous club, captured and skewered in Timothy Crouse’s best-selling “The Boys on the Bus,” about the 1972 campaign.
Now, more and more, because of budget cutbacks, those once coveted jobs are being filled by brand new journalists at a fraction of the salary. It is not so glamorous anymore.

You can read the whole thing. The point of the article is that economic pressures have forced the industry to resort to this.

Having spent the first dozen years of my career toiling at small-town papers you never heard of, what is shocking to me is that raw kids like this aren’t working at little weeklies out in the sticks. But the downsizing of the industry has wiped out many, many thousands of  what used to be entry-level journalism jobs, and all the smart kids go to law school.

It takes a special kind of stupid to pursue a career in journalism nowadays. But maybe that’s always been true.


18 Responses to “A Special Kind of Stupid”

  1. M. Thompson
    September 1st, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    Yeah, but you’re the best of that sort of stupid.  Besides, you’re well on your way to become the grumpy old man of journalism.

  2. ThePaganTemple
    September 1st, 2011 @ 2:52 am

    I guess the New York Times will be the next major media operation to get a bailout from the Administration, the first one being NBC (no taxes). They can’t let their major propaganda engines fall apart, can they?

  3. Charles G Hill
    September 1st, 2011 @ 3:04 am

    Of course, back when we had A-list candidates, it was worth sending A-list journos to cover them.

  4. Adjoran
    September 1st, 2011 @ 3:34 am

    Look, it made financial sense to send the guys who were smart, experienced, good writers and insightful observers to cover politics back when the news divisions and editors were mainly concerned with getting the story first and accurately.

    Nowadays, they don’t give a rat’s patootie about the facts.  They have their narrative and that’s what they are going with; the reporter is only there to find something to fit the narrative.  When the entry level pool is filled with recent J-school grads who’ve spent four years being indoctrinated by leftist professors, they are ready to hit the ground running.  They understand that “creativity” is often necessary to prevent the public from getting confused by “facts” and possibly led away from the leftist path.

  5. Anonymous
    September 1st, 2011 @ 4:49 am

    There is a bill proposed to make failing newspapers non-profit “educational” publications. They would not be allowed to “endorse” candidates….um……yeah I assume lying would still be acceptable.

  6. Tom Callow
    September 1st, 2011 @ 4:50 am

    The downfall of the Republic can probably be summed up in the “need” to have any such thing as a “Journalism School”
    It sounds like something that the red chinese or the ruskies would attempt after 1943 and 1917 respectively to gain some sort of propoganda edge on the west
    real journalists are not trained,  in the words of yoda, they either are or they aren’t and no amount of degrees, testimonials or other TPS REPORTS will sway reality
    I am sorry that newspapers are failing, but I read TheOtherMcCain every day, and more than once!
    I guess I am gonna have to hit the tip jar, because I want Stacey and company to stick around for a long time

  7. ThePaganTemple
    September 1st, 2011 @ 5:16 am

    I’m not surprised in a way, but for them to be that damn blatant about it is a little bit of a shock. Just a little bit, because its pretty obvious the mainstream press has dropped all pretenses of objectivity they ever entertained, and their pretenses were never that convincing to begin with. If the Republicans allow that to go through they would deserve to get their asses beat if it weren’t for the effects on all the rest of us.

  8. Adjoran
    September 1st, 2011 @ 6:10 am

    There never used to be “Journalism Schools” besides, perhaps, Columbia.  Journalism classes were under the English Department, and taught by the junior professors, and those who weren’t up to teaching Shakespeare or Blake or the American Novel of the Early 20th Century.  It was a throwaway position.

    But after Watergate, Woodward and Bernstein, and the movie, every fresh-faced frosh wanted to be the next investigative reporter, and an industry was born on campus.  J-schools were swiftly created out of the same English rejects who taught the courses before, but suddenly had a new prominence and respect they never earned.

    They imparted their lack of knowledge, leftist ideology, and zeal to manage the news to “change the world” to generations of students, who then flooded the markets at newspapers, taking the jobs once held by blue-collar reporters who worked their way up from garden clubs, human interest, and middle school sports to crime beats and City Halls and learned their trade by doing it.

    You can mark the decline of journalism to Watergate and its effects.

  9. Bob Belvedere
    September 1st, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

    Just don’t do an HST, Stacy.

  10. Bob Belvedere
    September 1st, 2011 @ 12:13 pm

    Spot-on.  These young members of the Leftist Youth are much easier to control.

    The KGB always recruited the young to do their dirtiest work because they could count on them to not ask questions.

  11. Bob Belvedere
    September 1st, 2011 @ 12:16 pm

    Outsider, reviled, gonzo reporters like Stacy are doing the jobs these young spoiled brats won’t do.

    All these indoctrinated fools want to start at the top and the fellows running the old media are more than happy to hire them because the young guns are perfectly happy to follow the party line in order to be able to say: I’m a political correspondent for The New York Times, don’t ya know!.

  12. Matt Lewis
    September 1st, 2011 @ 1:04 pm

    Exactly!  Like Nixon-McGovern.  Wait…what?

  13. DaveO
    September 1st, 2011 @ 1:49 pm

    What’s the concern?

    The stories of the primaries and the Presidential Campaign have already been written by the editors and owners. The kids are there so the owners can claim a tax-break.

  14. McGehee
    September 1st, 2011 @ 2:16 pm

    Harry S. Truman?

  15. Tennwriter
    September 1st, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    Definitely not THAT.  He nuked two cities.

  16. Bob Belvedere
    September 1st, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    Hunter S. Thompson + rifle.

  17. Anonymous
    September 1st, 2011 @ 7:50 pm

    You write that as if “nuked two cities” was a bad thing.

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