Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm Not A Plumber, Nor A Journalist

I am not a plumber, I am in construction and I have business friends who are plumbers and I did plumb my own house. (nothing leaks and everything works as it should) I write on a fairly regular basis for public consumption, I am not a journalist. If you read the title description of this blog you will find the word journalism nowhere, you will find the words "comment and advocacy," but nothing regarding journalism. I depend on journalists to ask questions and to know whom to ask those questions of, whether where I end up is where they did or not. I use the facts available to me to come up with an understanding or an opinion. I stand by what I write as based on facts and my record of getting things right, but I don't dress it up as journalism - I do essays.

Despite my concerns about the corporate nature of the media and its consolidation I am distressed by the economic difficulties facing newspapers and news media in general. Bloggers do not have the resources or sources to dig deeply into many of the issues facing us today. I am religious in giving credit (or blame) in my writings to the originators, both as a matter of ethics and as a matter of economics. I know that the news stories in the media suffer from point of view, it is inevitable, but I also know that most journalists attempt to minimize that.

Given the Palinization of the Republican Party, it is little surprise to me that an outfit like Pajama Media would think there is something useful in putting Joe The Plumber (here after JTP) in the role of journalist. His qualifications are obvious: he's right wing, people have seen his face and name, and he's gotten virtually nothing right. He has opinions, we've been subjected to them for months, and he thinks they're facts. It seems to be a feature of Republican politics that its most visible people get progressively stupider starting with St Ronnie. It is almost as if their success with an incurious man incapable of critical thinking who could sell himself as an actor encouraged multiples of those failings. I'm willing posit GHWB as an exception, kind of. GWB's failure is not his average IQ, it is the entire lack of curiosity and critical thinking that allowed him to be led and to be so stubbornly wrong. I have yet to read or hear a statement from a Republican of any stature that reflects those characteristics. That's not partisan hackery, I don't mind not agreeing with reasoning, I just require reasoning rather than parroting.

I don't mind that I don't agree with JTP, I disagree with some pretty intelligent and thoughtful people who've commented here. I disagree with his elevation to a position that he not only isn't able to fulfill but has no understanding of. There exists in Israel and Palestine a situation that is very serious and has proved intractable for decades, and people are dying. This isn't a fender bender on Rt 30 or Main St, this is damn serious business and that people are paying any attention at all to someone unqualified to report on that hypothetical car crash is a tragedy. Everyone and their damn brother is picking sides in this mess and most of those people have little idea what all is driving it. Increasing the stupidity level is not helpful. Governmental stupidity in the active participants is already worthy of the most scathing mockery (if it weren't too sad and horrible for mockery) without tossing JTP into the mix. How America reacts to this is going to count. Journalism isn't demanding of genius IQ, it is demanding of certain skills and some dedication to fact and at least a passing attempt at being objective. JTP proved in the Presidential election that he has none of that even forgiving the partisan nature of elections.

JTP is an agenda driven incompetent and he's been given access to people who not only can figure that out but also how to use it. That is a distressing idea. It's also pretty damn embarrassing that some Americans could actually think it is a good idea - in public. I suppose that if your news sources are Rush and Fox it would be easy to get confused about what journalism is...

I'm tired of George II, Sarah, and Joe but it doesn't seem I'll be getting respite for awhile. As for stupidity, I'm afraid that isn't even wounded.


Kevin said...

The right-wing aren't interested in journalists. What they want is commentators, editorialists and demagogues (like JTP) who will tell them what they want to hear.

Chuck Butcher said...

I'm pretty sure everyone who has paid attention to him in this regard at all has paid more attention than it deserves.

realbtl said...

Actually I think that the right wing wants someone to tell everyone else what they (the right wing) wants to hear. I believe the technical term is propaganda.