Back and better than ever new and improved.
so let's start with the report about Jack Kelley and his fabulistness, if you know what i mean. Pace The Onion: Holy Fucking Shit! This guy lied about everything and anything. He was a sociopath of the first order, and i am surprised bodies didn't turn up when other journalists went to investigate.
1) Unnamed Sources. here the key point rears its ugly head (just like in Shattered Glass--i guess no one wants to learn this lesson--more on that later)--if you can't pin someone down as to who said what to them, and that disability is institutionalized in the very format of your system, not much of a surprise when problems come up, no? i mean, you could basically say to your boss "yeah yeah this guy really said it, i have WRITTEN notes (wow, you wrote them down? they must be true)" and as far as i can tell from the somewhat discreet langauge of the report, your boss would say "print that sucker". pathetic. but what the authors of the report fail to discuss (as David Ehrenstein does quite brilliantly in this week's LA Weekly) is the EFFING MOTIVATION of the people giving you material anonymously. i won't cover too much ground here--david's discussion in the weekly should suffice--but this point seems obvious, and maybe we can get at the why of this disaster here.
a) perhaps the desire to get scoops, combined with the need to keep one's job, wrapped up with a post-Watergate isn't-deep-throat-the-coolest-thing-ever reportorial mentality will lead people to TURN OFF THEIR BRAINS. why, anonymous gov't official says that higher up official is "really focused on doing what's right for the country right now"--no shit? wow, and you'll let me print that? that your boss just cares too much? that is so...brave...you just want the truth to get out in my FRONT PAGE STORY YEAH FOR ME I WILL GET A RAISE AND MAYBE A PULITZER.
guess where this mentality takes you, friend. Bob woodward, the worst reporter on the planet, a truly stupid and vapid and sad little man masquerading as a....well, they put it best in the report at USA today. for some reason kovach et al believe a reporter's characteristics are "...easy to describe: independence, skepticism, curiosity and distrust of authority. " huh. so that's how they would describe woodward? jeff gerth? elizabeth bumiller? nedra pickler? Fox News? Paula Zahn? Tim Russert? These people fucking love authority! they ARE authority! They hang out at Press club functions and make haha googly-eyed jokes about this shit with the very people they are supposed to be "independent from, with a healthy level of distrust" (I made that quote up, but fuck it, gotta get with the times and The Times). HAHAHAHAHA oh shit i just snarfed my cognac. i'll ask hitchens to clean it up. back to my point--woodward's book is as bad, if not worse, than kelley's mendacities--woodward describes spin as fact, in truth he creates a narrative in which all spin MUST be fact, and in true Kantian fashion, because Woodward himself is doing the reporting. the very authorial voice he uses forces spin to be true. again, better writers than me have broken this shit down, but woodward is a dangerous man who must be given his day of reckoning by his fellow journalists.
b) in the report, a reporter at USA today is described as finding some of Kelley's stories "incredulous" . This bit of nonsense managed to both be spoken by a reporter at our finest McPaper, but was also left uncommented on by the three wise men of the report staff. i'm incredulous with laughter, or something.
Also--this asshole Kelley had the temerity to not pay his translators, and keep the money for himself. oh how i hate this detail--all these people saying "he was so good to me i didn't see it coming". Nope, i don't believe it, if this guy was ripping off hard working people in third world countries so he could buy a bigger bible (more on that later too) or whatever, he is just a pathetic piece of rat excrement. i can't imagine anything worse, he basically stiffed his waitress 10000. bastard ratfink fuckwad.
Last but not least, i love how they got through the whole report without mentioning that Kelley's "trustworthy demeanor" and "likablity" were largely a product of his religiousity. not one mention. fucking NYTimes at least had the sac to admit that Blair's blackness was a potential issue. this is the one area where i really feel let down by USA today's examination staff. Kelley talked a lot of shit about how important god was to him, over and over ad nauseam. some people eat that up, and it makes them more susceptible to lies. piousness can be that way. this has been true since they invented religion, but somehow the stupid part of the human genome survives through to this day to lick religion up (ewwwwww.)