Profiles in Courage?

Recently one of the more familiar NPR voices whose name I can’t remember honored Dan Schorr as a “courageous cranky monument to a courageous cranky profession. “ I will give them that Dan Schorr was courageous and cranky and a monument to what journalism should be. Dan Schorr was hated by Noxin, shut out of Russia by Khrushchev, fired by CBS for leaking a document that CBS would not allow him to report about. His contract with CNN included a clause saying the company would not interfere with his reporting, and CNN put him aside and let the contract expire when they figured out what he really meant by that. Dan Schorr was courageous and cranky and a true hero to anyone who believes the Fourth Estate should be something more than a political tool or a trivial entertainment.

Courageous and cranky. I will not give the shills at NPR the right to take the title for themselves or for any other journalist who has not specifically earned it… and there are damned few of them. Rachel Maddow, Ellen Smith, Helen Thomas, Eugene Robinson. The McClatchy newspapers deserve some credit for not caving in to common wisdom on Busch’s phony Iraq war. There may be other honest and upright journalists out there, but they are rare.

For every Dan Schorr there are a thousand Judith Miller’s, willing to sell their soul to the high and mighty for an opportunity to get a front page byline and a mention on 60 minutes. Lies and deceit and bullshit bought and sold by the media have accounted for much of what might rightly be considered our decline. The Whitewater fraud could have been uncovered and exposed. Lazy reporters preferred to take crap they were fed and report it as gospel, even if it made no sense on its face. The real scandal of the Lewinski saga was not that the president got a blow job in his closet but that it was a part of a “vast right wing conspiracy” that was determined to cripple and destroy if possible a moderate presidency.

It goes without saying that the fools in the press never seriously questioned the “elections” of The Moron George W. George Busch, never held Congress’ feet to the fire on investigating his crimes, and only when it was so obvious the television camera could not miss it was there any serious discussion of his gross incompetence. No member of the Fourth Estate raised any fuss when one of their own bloviators built his reputation and his career on hatred of immigrants, even though most of his claims were false or wildly exaggerated. Bob Woodward wrote two worshipful books about The Moron before he discovered the winds of conventional wisdom were changing and wrote a third to correct the record.

Although most press outlets have begun to admit up front that the President’s Birth Certificate is real, many still maintain that there is a genuine issue raised there. The Press stood by and watched a brilliant and capable leader, Van Jones, get railroaded out of office by the right wing lie machine. Not one journalist ever investigated the record and came to his defense (neither did the Obama Administration.) The press always found false claims of voter fraud to be reasonable, especially when ACORN was involved, and accepted at face value Andrew Brightfart’s lies about that most valuable and innocent organization. Now we have the spectacle of another of Brightfart’s lies being accepted from coast to coast and costing an honorable public servant her job, all without a modicum of skepticism from the news media.

Courageous my ass! Cowards and whores and mountebanks have only the courage of their ambition.

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