The Other McCain

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

‘The New School of Journalism’

Posted on | November 8, 2011 | 40 Comments

“While I was at Newsweek (1950-1980), the mainstream media began recruiting talented leftist writers from the so-called underground press in the 60s, in the somewhat naïve belief that they could be co-opted. Instead, they went on doing their thing, which was to twist the news to cast the U.S. in the role of villain on the world stage. Many of these writers climbed the ladder of journalistic success and moved into key positions at home and abroad. There was never a media conspiracy. It was worse — a mind-set, a consensus that at times bordered on thought control. Contrary views became harmful to one’s career.
“This was the new school of journalism spawned by the Vietnam War and Watergate that bred reporters who believed they were armed with a mandate from the people and were accountable to no one save themselves. It was for many of these reasons that I decided to return to the rigors of round-the-clock journalism.”

Arnaud de Borchgrave, former editor, The Washington Times

De Borchgrave’s essay (the date of publication I do not know) is quoted in the manuscript of a memoir my friend Ken Hanner, former national editor of The Washington Times, is currently finishing. It’s a fascinating story, told by a guy who was a member of the newsroom staff at the Times on its first day of publication in 1982, and continued there for more than quarter-century.

Publishers are currently considering the manuscript, and I can’t wait for the book to be published. Ken sent me some draft chapters of the book, and I’m sure many readers will be intrigued by the backstory of how The Washington Times became one of the world’s most important newspapers. If you want to know how a news organization is built from the ground up, and want to understand what it takes to fight the good fight against liberal media bias, this is going to be a must-read.

The rise of the “new school of journalism” described by Arnaud de Borchgrave, is a phenomenon that has never been adequately examined in any depth, as the the same people who took over the news media also took over the journalism schools. So there is no graduate student at Columbia University who can be expected to write a master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation taking a critical look at the built-in biases of the “new school.”

Liberal bias is rooted in a worldview, a conception of history in which there are both evolutionary and revolutionary influences that chart a clear path known as Progress. The forces that represent opposition to Progress — traditional religion, the military, the wealthy, etc. — are automatically classified as evil and reactionary.

Above all, those who internalize the liberal worldview believe, Progress is an unquestionable goal. The possibility that Progress might lead us astray —  that society might actually be experiencing a process of degeneration, declining toward decadence — is categorically impossible. One must have a dogmatic certainty about the truth of the liberal worldview and the need for Progress, because doubt and skepticism will lead to questions, and once an intelligent person starts questioning liberalism, he probably won’t be a liberal much longer.

Many of us have gone through some sort of experience like the one described by De Borchgrave, in which we awakened to the reality of what liberalism is, and why liberalism is wrong and harmful. Each of us has a story to tell, and experiences to relate, about how it was we woke up to the danger and decided to start fighting back.

A scattered collection of individuals acting alone can do little to combat the powerful, organized, well-funded and prestigious insitutions of liberalism. The opponents of liberalism must have their own organizations and institutions, and must collaborate in opposing liberalism in the same way that liberals collaborate to advance their own cause.

The Washington Times was conceived as an institution devoted to that kind of mission, and the story of how that mission was pursued is worth telling. I’m glad Ken Hanner is telling it, and I hope he’ll have the opportunity to share that story with the world soon.


40 Responses to “‘The New School of Journalism’”

  1. TR
    November 8th, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    Stacy,  I am glad you are impressed with this memoire from your former newspaper. Although I am probably sounding like bad chalk on a blackboard (for those who remember!) I do think you have a gift in writing.  The words flow from you on each deadline.  As I am now faced with writing technical articles I know what goes into the word ‘clarity’ (something you know well) and I would encourage you again to write a long piece, screen play, novel or recounting of experiences.  I would write my own memoire but I’m just not sure how it ends, LOL.

  2. Joe
    November 8th, 2011 @ 11:53 pm

    If the fifties, sixties and seventies brought the plague of “new journalism,”  it is reporters like you that are bringing the restoration.  The new old journalism. 

  3. Charles
    November 9th, 2011 @ 12:03 am

    One comprehends the argument against degeneration declining toward decadence, but what is the argument against progress? How does progress necessarily lead to degeneration?

  4. Anon Y. Mous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 12:18 am

    Stacy, I have always wondered about the seeming incompatibility of one of the most respected newspapers on the right being a publication founded and financed by the “Moonies”. Although its perspective mirrors my own more closely then say The Washington Post in something on the order of 99.99% of the time, the publication was founded by and is presumably the editorial voice of a man who claims to be the 2nd coming of the Messiah.

    What is your informed viewpoint about my admittedly uniformed doubts?

  5. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 12:27 am

    Weren’t people from the old Evening Star involved in the Washington Times when it started?

  6. Terry
    November 9th, 2011 @ 12:41 am

    Hey TR, I was thinking the exact same thing. Thanks for saying it well. Stacy needs to expand that article, v interesting and written to be understood. Yeah! a novel or new non fiction, either,or both. Go Stacy!

  7. jwallin
    November 9th, 2011 @ 1:55 am

    The “progress” of which you imbue Liberals with is actually only a Progress towards their self created agenda/”culture”.

    Strangely, they don’t PRACTICE much of what they preach. (and it’s not unconscious either. Re: all the instances of them hiding their little deviations from the  norm they preach. Racism, bigotry, sloth, gluttony, perversion etch.)

    Scratch a liberal and find a PETTY TYRANT.

    Who’s mainly looking to see himself in that limo, in that ceo’s office, in that summer beach house, that jet, that suv.

  8. jwallin
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:07 am

    I do not like this new system of logging in to comment. Seems I have to constantly login to make a comment as disqus can’t remember me.

    Maybe an option to remember the login isn’t checked?

    Oh and another point while I’m at it.

    Blogs have gotten soooo bloated with off site fetches for content that even after I’m almost done reading the blog, it’s still loading sh!t!

    C’mon this is getting out of control and some of these sites that have to be read aren’t up to the demand so one winds up waiting for stuff we’re not even interested in.

    Bloggers please: stop loading up the blogs with all the nifty widgets and gadgets and other stuff that takes your READER away from reading your blog!

    When the experience gets so crowded AND SLOW, guess what? Folks will go elsewhere.

    It’s like those tools bars that everyone has to have now that steals ones screen area and puts some unneeded controls that the user really didn’t want or know about. Now it’s stealing screen space and some have even added banner ads on them so they take even MORE space.

    I come here to get info and see what other people think. I read some ads and if I ever go back to work, I’ll buy stuff from amazon. I do the same at other blogs and I don’t think I’m outside the average joe.

    Stop bloating the blogs with crap just because it LOOKS COOL!

    /rant off

  9. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:22 am

    I wouldn’t dispute De Borchgrave, who is a giant of the industry, perhaps the last, but I believe his observation only accounts for a portion of the total bastardization of journalism as it should be practiced.

    After Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein, lots of young minds full of mush decided that’s what they wanted to do:  uncover corruption and change the world through journalism.  It killed the news business dead.

    Up until then reporters all came up basically the same way.  They started as coffee-fetchers and copy boys, eventually being trusted with a garden club meeting or school news story, working up through the crime beat to City Hall.  By the time they were the top reporter on a beat they knew the turf and the players and the ins and outs.  Most of them lacked a college degree, but they learned the craft the hard way, on the street.  Shoe leather.  Corfam.

    The universities seldom offered journo majors, what classes there were were tucked into the English Dept. and taught by the professors or grad assistants who couldn’t be trusted to teach American Novels, Shakespeare, or Proust, and who couldn’t fathom Northrup Frye well enough to teach Blake.  But they inherited the new Journo Departments and commenced instilling in their young charges a sense of self-importance and entitlement along with neo-Marxist ideology.

    When all these college grad “reporters” began hitting the market, editors began hiring them for roughly the same low wage they paid the in-house guys.  Copy boys no longer moved up – they lacked a degree.  Of course the college boys knew nothing but Socialist Realism, but they prevailed by sheer numbers.

    The way the left destroyed journalism is a parable for how they are destroying Western Culture in general and America in particular.

  10. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:23 am

    You must be old.  Really old.  Brew the tana leaves and chant the incantation old.

  11. jwallin
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:26 am

    Still isn’t keeping me logged in.

  12. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:32 am

    I was a key subcontractor in distribution, started in 67 or 68.
    I’m only five years older than Stacy if memory serves.

  13. 'The New School of Journalism' : The Other McCain | Journalism Blogs
    November 9th, 2011 @ 2:52 am

    […] on | November 8, 2011 | 12 Comments “While I was at Newsweek (1950-1980), the mainstream media began recruiting talented leftist […]

  14. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:08 am

    Moon bought it, but thought of it as an investment and never interfered, even with editorials – which as owners his people could have.  There was a niche open for a straight newspaper as WaPo sold out finally and completely to agenda journalism, but it was always in doubt whether a conservative paper could be profitable in the Area.

  15. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:09 am

    Ha!  Us ink-stained wretches know what that means!  I was the youngest business owner on my block in ’65 in Richmond.

  16. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:11 am

    You must have some setting unchecked, or checked in error.  The only time I have to log back in is if I’ve logged out of the “log in from” source or if the browser has updated to a new version.

  17. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:21 am

    Never broke the glass in a single storm door.

  18. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:35 am

    I don’t mind the free-for-all (as in “melee”) type of journalism we have today.  I just think there should be some major damage points attaching to people who are caught out plagarizing, making stuff up, and reporting in severely out-of-context manner.

    It ought to be a blood sport.

  19. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:57 am

    If you use firefox, first turn off the ads with adblocker.
    Second, use noscript.
    Then make sure you enable all the scripts you need to see the page.

    It sounds to me like the cookie for disqus is not enabled, or is perhaps being deleted.

    Are cookies on?

    If so, do you have settings that deleted them when you close the browser?  Also, some plugins that help with cookies allow/disallow certain ones.  So you can check for that.

    Good luck!

    (EDIT: I see about 12 different scripts I’m blocking when I visit this site. That makes the page load rather quickly. You don’t need any of the FaceBook scripts unless you use facebook tools while you’re here–that will save a bunch of bandwidth, right there).

  20. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 4:07 am

    Moon sold it though, didn’t he?

    Once I read about him getting “crowned” within Federal buildings, with congressmen present, I refused to read anything from the rag.  I didn’t care how conservative or whatever.

    If it’s changed hands, even if it’s gone downhill, I’ll be happy to read decent articles there again.

  21. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 4:07 am

    Genuine progress, or “progressive” progress? Makes a huge diff.

  22. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 4:12 am

    I think the term “journalism” needs to be superceded by a ruthless group of curmudgeonists, who are all the kind of old-school journalists we remember from the movies (and Stacy’s writing here).

    I coined the term “curmudgeony” to describe the “art of” back in the eighties.  Now we need the “profession of”


    All new terms for the new media.

    Thank me!  /levin

  23. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    Obama just called.

    He said you should have written at least two autobiographies by now.

    If you’re over 45, you should be in the middle of your third one.

  24. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 4:15 am

    Don’t encourage him!

    It’ll just degenerate into writing.

  25. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 5:21 am

    “Progress” wouldn’t lead to degeneration.  Unfortunately, what is hailed as “progressive” these days is in fact the very opposite of progress.  And there is not a great leap from regress to degeneration.

    The fact that all progressives are degenerates should have been your first clue.

  26. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 5:22 am

    Yes, he sold out, but he was the money behind the start-up.

  27. Adjoran
    November 9th, 2011 @ 5:28 am

    Me either – as a carrier.  As a circ manager in the late ’70s I sometimes had to throw from the van to hit both sides of the street.  In the bad parts of town there could be lots of open routes, couldn’t stop for a broken storm door at 4 a.m. 

    So one time I get the call from one of those over-enthusiastic drivers’-side-to-opposite-side-o’-the-street shots – the company had a standing account at the main glazier in town, but we had to pay for our own miscues.  I get to the house, and the woman has left EVERYTHING as it was.  The paper was stuck in the pane of glass, still there.  Shard of glass all around, still there.  She preserved it like a freakin’ crime scene.

    Dang, lady, we’re not here to dust for fingerprints, that’s one of mine, all right . . .

  28. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 7:01 am

    Progress, as defined by Progressives, is more about making changes that they think are good.  But these changes rarely consider unintended consequences or the real world of human beings and human nature.

    Unless they’re linking a modern day opponent to some evil deed of the past, history always began 10 minutes ago for the Progressive.

  29. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 7:18 am

    I think a goal of going after corruption is great.  But, as with all other liberals, Everything Is Political.  And so “policies I disagree with” became a bigger story than actual corruption.

    Of course, newspapers got their start as partisan organs, so this really isn’t anything new, except for the over credentialization of the reporters.

  30. Bob Belvedere
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:29 am

    K_Bob: I prefer the term ‘reporter’ for what Stacy is.  Now, I would agree that ‘curmudgeon’ is appropriate, but only as part of the job description for what a reporter’s duties are.

    I don’t think those old schoolers would describe themselves as ‘journalists’.  They understood that their job was to present ‘just the facts, m’am, just the facts’ and provide a taste of the atmosphere surrounding the situation being reported on.  Journalists of old analyzed and pondered those things being reported on.  They were two different creatures.

    The New Journalists, who arose at the same time as the New [Radical] Left, are all ideologues and believe, as Stacy says, the ‘forces that represent opposition to Progress — traditional religion, the
    military, the wealthy, etc. — are automatically classified as evil and
    reactionary’.  I would refine that a bit and, instead of the word ‘Progress’ substitute the words ‘their Ideology’ because some on the Right [see: World Net Daily] are guilty of the same sin / blindness.

    SIDENOTE: I discovered Stacy’s work reading TAS Online and said ‘Who is this guy; he’s a real reporter’ – I was pleasantly surprised to find someone who was carrying on the tradition in this debauched age.  I began to link his reporting and he was kind enough to link back and take the time to offer me advice on blogging which was very useful.

  31. Bob Belvedere
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:33 am

    I think Russell Kirk said it best, Charles:

    The conservative is not opposed to social improvement, although he doubts whether there is any such force as a mystical Progress, with a Roman P, at work in the world. When a society is progressing in some respects, usually it is declining in other respects. The conservative knows that any healthy society is influenced by two forces, which Samuel Taylor Coleridge called its Permanence and its Progression. The Permanence of a society is formed by those enduring interests and convictions that gives us stability and continuity; without that Permanence, the fountains of the great deep are broken up, society slipping into anarchy. The Progression in a society is that spirit and that body of talents which urge us on to prudent reform and improvement; without that Progression, a people stagnate.

    Therefore the intelligent conservative endeavors to reconcile the claims of Permanence and the claims of Progression. He thinks that the liberal and the radical, blind to the just claims of Permanence, would endanger the heritage bequeathed to us, in an endeavor to hurry us into some dubious Terrestrial Paradise. The conservative, in short, favors reasoned and temperate progress; he is opposed to the cult of Progress, whose votaries believe that everything new necessarily is superior to everything old.

    Change is essential to the body social, the conservative reasons, just as it is essential to the human body. A body that has ceased to renew itself has begun to die. But if that body is to be vigorous, the change must occur in a regular manner, harmonizing with the form and nature of that body; otherwise change produces a monstrous growth, a cancer, which devours its host. The conservative takes care that nothing in a society should ever be wholly old, and that nothing should ever be wholly new. This is the means of the conservation of a nation, quite as it is the means of conservation of a living organism. Just how much change a society requires, and what sort of change, depend upon the circumstances of an age and a nation.


  32. Bob Belvedere
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:35 am

    Hey!  I’m a couple years younger than Stacy and I remember the Evening Star.

  33. Bob Belvedere
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:36 am

    Of course, I had no life as a teenager…….

  34. Bob Belvedere
    November 9th, 2011 @ 8:47 am

    Well said, bravo, Adj!

    If anyone wants to get a real good look at what reporting used to be before the events Adjoran describes, check out Jack Webb’s Movie -30-.  From the IMDB description:

    Managing Editor Sam Gatlin arrives in the afternoon and departs early
    the next morning, having assembled a morning newspaper for Los Angeles.

    Not sure if it’s on DVD yet, but may be available via Netflix.

  35. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:39 am

    The problem with the goal of going after corruption is it’s definition acquired as much or more Marxist revision than history has the goal of of journalism to to identify causes and policies as worthy or not rather than reporting on them. I suspect that journalism as taught in college should be identified as editorialism.

  36. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    It was customers like that who made going to work at a car wash on weekends for a $1.25 an hour attractive.

  37. Bob’s Musings: Reporting, ‘Progress’, And Leftism « The Camp Of The Saints
    November 9th, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    […] at Stacy McCain’s joint, commentator Adjoran explains what happened and how it used to be: After Watergate and Woodward and Bernstein, lots of young […]

  38. Anonymous
    November 9th, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

     “Of course, newspapers got their start as partisan organs, so this really isn’t anything new”

    Except that now, they all claim to be “objective”. One reason I don’t believe 90% of what they say.

  39. Dave
    November 9th, 2011 @ 3:26 pm

    Voldemort did it.

  40. Anonymous
    November 10th, 2011 @ 1:48 am

    “Reporter” is good.

    I think I found the site when it was still kind of new, when I was searching on something or other.

    I liked the hardboiled reporting angle, and the stories about the former place of employment, and how stuff works in a newsroom. (I’ll confess that I skip over most of the blog-insider stuff.)