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View Diary: Our gutless wonder "journalists" (14 comments)

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  •  david - neither the NYT or the Wash Post (1+ / 0-)
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    are fat or happy. The big city newspaper business, which coined cash before the Internet, is very much down on its luck at this time.

    I spent seven years in the MSM three decades ago, during the time when it was a very profitable business and a very fun place to work. I was senior enough to understand what happens when someone is offering classified information to a big city newspaper. Not only could a reporter never decide on his or her own to disclose it, or write about it, the decision would go all the way through the editorial leadership, the first line editor, the managing editor, the executive editor and eventually the publisher of the newspaper. The general counsel and special First Amendment outside counsel would be involved. When a decision was made it was done after extensive research on validating the information, the source, and what potential liability exposure the paper would have. At times even the White House was contacted before a story was published. This was before the many new anti-terrorism laws that have the potential to be harmful to reporters and newspaper executives who release confidential information. So the response Manning received from the Post was completely understandable, and standard industry procedure for a long time, and at The Times, he called the wrong department.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 02:27:43 PM PST

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    •  OK, scratch 'Fat, dumb, and happy' (1+ / 0-)
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      But try in stead, try 'scrawny and scared'.

      Did I count seven levels in the chain of command?
      The reporter
      The first line editor
      The managing editor
      The executive editor
      The publisher
      The general counsel
      The special First Amendment outside counsel
           That's seven, if they all apply.  

      My experience with hierarchies comes mostly from dealing with Medicare and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), not with newspapers; but from what I've seen, a chain of command tends to operate with the cumulative stupidity of all the links in the chain.  I suspect the tendency to operate with the cumulative timidity and cowardice is even stronger.  If Bradley Manning wanted that information to reach the public in less than ten years, I suspect he made a good choice sending it to WikiLeaks.  The Post and the Times would likely have sat on the story for decades.  That might be good for the survival of the Post and Times.  It wouldn't be good for democracy or human rights.

      So I thank Bradley Manning.  The information is free, but he's in prison.  

      We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

      by david78209 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 03:58:39 PM PST

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      •  david - in a public company (1+ / 0-)
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        you can't put reporters, editors, managers or key assets in jeopardy without a thorough analysis of the risk involved. The management has a fiduciary duty to the shareholders. Back in the day when powerful families owned the big city newspapers it was the publisher or editors call because it was a private, family business and there were no public shareholders to consider.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:13:54 PM PST

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        •  Then we need to preserve news sources that (0+ / 0-)

          don't have that fiduciary duty conflicting with the "duty" to serve their readers and the public.  I put "duty" in quotes to bypass the distraction that it isn't a legal duty.  It isn't.  But I consider it an ethical responsibility of a news organization to publish things like this, that the world needs to know.

          That's one reason I consider Daily Kos and other blogs, sites like WikiLeaks, and the internet in general to be a crucial part of our news media.  

          We're all pretty strange one way or another; some of us just hide it better. "Normal" is a dryer setting.

          by david78209 on Thu Feb 28, 2013 at 04:30:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

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