There was a lot of slimy journalism last week. Ugly unattributed stuff.
For unprincipled Conservatives the slime-mongering that dripped from the Insight web site and was slurped up by Fox network figures made a nifty two-in-one: take down Clinton along with Obama, the former for supposedly digging up useful dirt on a rival presidential hopeful, the latter for having possibly unsavory interludes in his life.
The whole story hung on a mysterious unnamed source. There was no way to confirm it and Fox didn't care. But the glory is that most reporters and commentators refused to keep pounding away once CNN checked out the facts. Such restraint bodes well for coverage of what's going to be an excruciatingly long presidential campaign.
Meanwhile, this seems like a good time to reaffirm the kind of journalism WhirledView has been committed to.
When the three of us set out to create an ezine with a concentration on politics and foreign affairs a little over two years ago, we spent a good amount of time discussing whether we’d use exciting and/or devious blog names or write under our own boring natal and/or married names.
It boiled down to a matter of genre. What kind of blog were we going to be? We weren’t interested in purveying gossip or being confessional. We knew from day one we'd take no pleasure in shaming or embarrassing anyone gratuitously, though we’ve never shrunk from strong, even harsh criticism of public figures who deserve (we think) to be slammed. Finally, we decided to write colloquially because we like to (and because that’s the nature of the blogging beast), but we’ve consciously avoided an overload of words the NYT can’t use at all. In short, we want to be responsible, not skulking, and never dull. (Which is one reason we liven up the news analysis with pieces on art, film, books, science, whatever, so WV really is an ezine.) All of which meant we weren't going to hide behind pseudonyms.
We made another commitment. We’d try to authenticate or document the facts behind our claims and conclusions. In fact, like most bloggers, we can’t do much original investigation or research. Although we have lots of significant and relevant personal experiences to draw upon, which is to say, major eye witness stuff, we don’t have the time or the money to compete in daily or in depth news gathering with a press conglomerate or a big newsroom. So we link where we can—and where we can’t we append sources. This kind of attribution comes naturally to WhirledView; our background experiences include journalism, academia and science as well as diplomacy.
In short, we do our best to be lively and provocative. But if we don’t have info enough to support a hunch, we won’t post.