Richard Morin, Pollster for the Post, in a Firestorm of His Own Making

We're making a difference.  I've been told that journalists at the Washington Post by and large don't like having Technorati on their articles because they don't like the criticism.  That's obviously not true for every one of them, and I'm sure that it will change as they get used to it.  But the criticism we're making is going up the food chain, and it is working.

For instance, after Chris posted on the Washington Post's Richard Morin, many of you confronted him in the online chat, which was quite revealing. Chris and I were reading it together, and we literally couldn't believe that Morin would actually get angry at readers for asking questions about impeachment, and proudly wear that anger on his sleave.  His excuses were something to see, from 'I got lots of emails from a Democratic group and they were annoying' to 'We won't ask questions on impeachment because leaders haven't discussed it.'  Then Media Matters weighed in, showing that Morin was full of it. (Long story short: Almost immediately, the Post ran polls on impeachment for Clinton).

Now Digby, Jane Hamsher, and Atrios have taken the critique of insularity to a higher level.  Dan Froomkin is discussing impeachment.  Keith Olberman is discussing it.  And now Editor and Publisher has subtly taken Morin to task for his outburst.  Froomkin said it best: "There is nothing wrong with asking the question."

But it really is larger than the 'I' word.  After all, Cheney is the one saying that Nixon was right all along.  He's talking to impeachment, even if it's one that almost happened 30 years ago.  This is about the insularity and inconsistency of Richard Morin and the people that employ him.  Morin is pulling the same nonsense on Alito, refusing to acknowledge the existence of other polls even though he said that was unsound journalism in his most revealing online chat.

Ultimately, this is not about isolated journalists, as Zizka points out, but about Donald Graham and Arthur Sulzberger, the inheritors of the public trust that they abuse by allowing this type of behavior to go on.  We are not a country of kings, and we are not a country of aristocracy.  It is a problem that the two papers of record are owned by two rich kids who inherited them from uberwealthy parents.  There's no accountability there.  And Morin-like behavior is the result.

So keep doing what you're doing, MyDD readers.  Let's hold them to the standards they set for themselves.  It's working.

Tags: Media (all tags)

Comments

6 Comments

Richard Morin, Firestorm
Where did the Fourth Estate go?  It's so depressing that the press picks being the "kewl kidz" over their duty to the country.  They want privileges like shield laws and enhanced libel protection (which to some, not an absolute,  extent they should have), yet in return for the privileges, they must meet their obligation of serving as a check on power.  I hope more people pay attention to the whole Washington Post situation here (Froomkin and Morin).  It's such a text-book example of how certain members of the Washington press have become much more the problem than any part of the solution.
by Joe Scordato 2005-12-22 08:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Richard Morin, Firestorm
There are many with great integrity and professionalism in the press corps.  It is indeed sad that their voices are mashed together with those without such sensibilities.
by Matt Stoller 2005-12-22 08:51AM | 0 recs
A Long Train of Abuses
There are several contributing factors. Two worth noting are:

(1) The rise of journalism school, and gradual purging of journalists with working class roots, leading to a strong identification with (rather than mere obeisence to) the powerful they cover.  

(2) The right wing's calculated strategy to take advantage of this trend, on top of the press's need for access, and their determination to impose a different model, whereby propaganda is the norm, and deviation is "bias."

by Paul Rosenberg 2005-12-22 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: A Long Train of Abuses
Interesting point about class.
by Matt Stoller 2005-12-22 08:51AM | 0 recs
Freedom of the press...
A friend of mine posted a comment on my blog I think may pertain to this situation. I'll post it here:

Poor damn stupid Founding Fathers.

All that trouble to make a First Amendment, and not a thought for what happens if the press chooses not to exercise its freedom.

Guess they couldn't imagine a press that would crawl into the cage of its own free will, and lick the chains thereof.

I feel like one of the primary jobs of the news media is to hound the government. Not one party or the other but both. They need to hit the  government from all sides. The best journalists are cynics. While I consider myself very progressive, I also think journalists shouldn't necessarily be. They should be cynics because their job is to poke holes in the power structure to keep it honest. If we can do that through blogging and other forms of media great, but somebody needs too because the current media sure isn't.

by Stithmeister 2005-12-22 09:01AM | 0 recs
Newspapers
Seems like we've got two types:

  1. Those owned by uber-rich families
  2. Those owned by a mega corporation

The first is subject to the whims of the owners. The second to shareholders, and therefore, will naturlly be titled to the right.

One more reason why blogs matter.

by LiberalFromPA 2005-12-22 05:35PM | 0 recs

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