Where have all the good journalists gone?

There’s a song, I think by Bonnie Tyler, asking where all the heroes have gone. I think it is time we ask ourselves where have all the good journalists gone. Where are the Ernie Pyles and the Edward R. Murrows? I’m not talking about journalists who take so-called facts, fail to check them and then run with the story. Of course for that to happen, we would have to have heads of networks — and network news departments — willing to rock the boat. Nor will it happen as long as the current crop of network journalists (and I use that term loosely) believe it is their job to make the news instead of report it.

Years ago, when I was taking journalism classes, we were taught we needed to ask “who, what, when, where, why and how?” Then we were to check and double-check our sources. Only then could we move forward with a story. It’s amazing looking at some of the antics pulled by Dan Rather and so many others over the last decade or two and wonder how they can look themselves in the mirror and call themselves reporters.

I find myself wondering what would have happened if we had someone who dared channel Murrow after the so-called coincidental meeting of Bill Clinton and Attorney General Lynch on the tarmac. Would that person have accepted, as most of the media seems to, that the meeting was accidental and they only discussed their grandkids? Or would that person have pushed and prodded and looked for sources, sources that could be confirmed, to find out what really happened?

Would that person have pushed harder to find out not only what happened regarding then Secretary of State Clinton’s personal email server? And how about the attack on our embassy and murders of our ambassador and those who tried to protect him? Would they have pushed for a special prosecutor to have been appointed months ago, long before the report was written, much less released?

What would it take to bring back journalists who worked not to make the politicians feel good but to make them remember to be on their toes? When is the last time we had a truly well researched, sources confirmed investigation into any political scandal?

Where is the modern Edward R. Murrow?



  1. It’s fairly well known now that FDR needed a wheel-chair but wasn’t well-known when he was President but the news media knew.

    Even though plenty of reporters hated FDR’s politics, there were no pictures of him getting out of his wheel-chair to make a speech and nobody reported on FDR being “crippled”.

    I remember reading a story about a young reporter about to take a picture of FDR getting out of his wheel-chair but one of the older reporters there stopped him from doing so.

    Modern “reporters” would have reported on FDR being “crippled” especially if they hated him. [Frown]

    1. There was a gentleman’s agreement at the time between reporters and those they were covering that they wouldn’t report on things that might be viewed as unfavorable to their public image. You saw it quite a bit with sports coverage as well as politics. Unless the person was really, really hated or what they were doing was considered particularly heinous.

      Now, it it might get a click, even if untrue and unverifiable, it gets ‘published’. Which makes it difficult to weed out the fact from the dishonest.

      1. Exactly. It’s the same reason why the media never wrote about the revolving door at the White House for JFK’s women or Eisenhower’s mistress. Now that wink and nod agreement goes not to their personal weaknesses or dalliances but to their illegal activities. That is where we need to call bullshit.

  2. Glenn Reynolds makes a point that reporters do their jobs when a Republican has the job, but I’m thinking that is only partially true. Everyone, it seems knew about Denny Hastert, but didn’t talk about. It’s certainly true though when a Dim steps in it, it takes mounds of baloney sauce before will report it, and then it will be heavily spun.

    1. Yep. Kind of reminds you of SFWA and the sf/f community and certain members everyone knew about and yet turned a blind eye to, doesn’t it?

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