Rant and Rave

Monica What's-Her-Face and So-Called "Responsible" Journalism

(Responsible Journalism, My Left Cheek)

by Tom Magliozzi

I have long suspected that so-called "responsible" journalists were just a bunch of schlocks with very little smarts and not much in the way of good taste (seems you can seldom trust those who with highfalutin titles like the Fourth Estate--yeah, sure). And we need no longer suspect, for now we know for sure.

A few days ago I was in the checkout line at the supermarket, and there was everybody's favorite trashy newspaper--the National Enquirer. Now, nobody actually believes anything that's printed in the National Enquirer (in my opinion), but, you must admit that it's fun to see what those guys can fabricate. I mean, it really does take a certain brand of creativity.

Lo and behold, the headline--something to do with Monica What's-Her-Face--was almost a verbatim copy of the cover stories in Time, Newsweek and that last bastion of what's fit to print--the New York Times! Well, guys, you've finally shown yourselves for exactly what you are--and the word "responsible" does not leap to mind. Same goes for radio and TV newsrooms everywhere. You're all nothing but a bunch of jerks looking to fill another half-hour with anything you can get your hands on--as long as you can keep those Nielsen ratings up to help pay your ridiculously exorbitant salaries.

Get this for rationalization: As I was channel surfing one night, I ran across one of those pseudo-news programs where "responsible" journalists sit around and discuss what they're doing. I tuned in too late to know who any of these schlocks were, but one of them was from Time or Newsweek, I forget which. Here's how he justified his magazine's coverage of this Monica story: "This is what people are talking about, so it's our responsibility to write about it," he says. You jerk. Don't you have it bass ackwards? Aren't people talking about it because you're writing about it? How would we even know about it if YOU hadn't decided that it was news? It's not news, stupid. And just because you've got a bigger vocabulary than I, it obviously doesn't qualify you to decide what's "fit to print."

I now have before me the latest issues of Time, Newsweek and the New York Times. I'm canceling my subscriptions to them all.

My cancellation won't mean much. It won't mean anything to the network news shows if I don't watch. It will matter, however, if you happen to be a Nielsen family. If you are, I strongly urge you to avoid them all like the plague. But I do have to thank them all for proving quite conclusively what I have long suspected.

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