May 24, 2004

In Praise of Exceptional Journalists

Many of us have written about the role the media played in foisting George W Bush on the American public, in wholeheartedly cheerleading his drive to take the country into war, as well as their active collusion with the corporate agenda and the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. (Thanks again to Bob Somerby for his yeoman work in covering this failure of our media.) Yet, during these times we have some exceptional journalists who we can praise for their efforts. Today, I'd like to commend three of our journalistic heroes.

Seymour Hersh

First is Seymour Hersh who many are naming America's greatest living journalist. Indeed, the secrecy and corruption that has been part and parcel of the Bush administration has allowed him some of his greatest scoops. Again and again, Seymour Hersh has broken the most important stories about this war and about those who are responsible for the folly of this war. As such, it is fascinating to read about Hersh, how he does what he does and why other journalists recognize his mastery.

Seymour Hersh, Salon, Jan. 18, 2000
Hersh put the US on notice that he doesn't think that Clinton's blow job was the critical story and he is going to make sure that the real stories are heard. At that time, the Gulf War Syndrome and the illnesses that were being ignored were going to get some exposure.

The Hersh Alternative, Washington Post, Jan. 28, 2001
Kissinger hated Seymour Hersh because when Hersh wrote The Price of Power, he assembled everything needed to put Kissinger on trial for war crimes.

The Avenger, Columbia Journalism Review, July/Aug. 2003
Hersh remarks that his colleagues are more frightened than he has ever seen in his lifetime. But he makes it clear, he is far from being done exposing the seamy understory of the Bush administration and he is anything but cowed.

White Hat, Black Hat, National Post, May 13, 2004
Jeet Heer says Hersh is the world's greatest living journalist and then provides a solid backing on why that is.

Yet for all his flaws, Hersh remains that rare figure, a genuine journalistic hero. Throughout the administration of George W. Bush, the U.S. news media have by and large behaved in a disgraceful manner. Cowering in fear of being labelled unpatriotic, the media have allowed Bush and his minions to prevaricate their way into an unnecessary war -- now fully revealed as a foolish and increasingly squalid imperialist adventure. All too many reporters, pundits and editorial boards have accepted fairy tales about weapons of mass destruction and the spreading of democracy into the Middle East. In a low and dishonest era, Hersh has remained faithful to the truth. In a more just world, all the renown enjoyed by Bob Woodward would be possessed by Seymour Hersh.

One way to recognize the impact Hersh has had is that Richard Perle called him "the closest thing America has to a terrorist."

Let's applaud Sy Hersh and thank our lucky stars that he is still on the prowl for that next big scoop as he seeks to hold those in power accountable for their actions.

Bill Moyers

Second is Bill Moyers who has been setting the bar for years on what it means to be a journalist and a patriot. Moyers has been hosting the most illuminating TV with NOW and shows how TV could be if it really wanted to step up to its proper role as the watchdog on the government. At the end of the year, Bill Moyers is going to retire and concentrate on other things. Yet, it is clear that he has carefully thought this through and NOW will continue on with Bill's cohost, David Brancaccio who has proven he is a suitable heir to carry on Bill's vision for many years to come.

Terry Gross Interviews Bill Moyers, Fresh Air, May 13, 2004
Bill talks to Terry about his new book, Moyers on America, why he is retiring and what he plans to do next.

And he just recently won another Peabody award.

Congratulations, Bill. I will miss you when you are no longer part of my regular Friday night fix.

Chris Allbritton

Finally, I'd like to recognize Chris Allbritton who has recently headed Back to Iraq to report on what he sees from outside the corporate sponsorship. Chris is awfully brave to go into Iraq today when things are so unstable and there is so much anger at Americans. I know he will provide lots of insight and will not just echo the message of the day as put out by Dan Senor. You can help sponsor his reporting by making a contribution at his site.

Posted by Mary at May 24, 2004 01:12 AM | Recommended Reading | Technorati links |