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Originally published at Tikkun Daily |

After John Miller's infomercial for the NSA had run its course on 60 Minutes, it was reported – to nobody's great surprise – that the CBS newsman was ditching his television contract to take a top intelligence post at the NYPD.

For Miller, this was just a continuation of his revolving door professional career, alternating between national security appointments and journalism posts. Problematic? Of course. However, the most troubling aspect was the revelation that Miller had been under consideration for the NYPD post while working on his NSA story.

He wasn't just a past insider 'reporting' on the NSA. This was a future insider doing a story about the inside. This was a journalist having full access to the inside and reporting upon it not to critique it, but to celebrate it, knowing his goal was to become a part of it.

Now, a central problem with contemporary journalism is that many mainstream reporters are so enamored with the powerful – with their access to secret sanctums and champagne-soaked affairs – that they cannot (or refuse to) fulfill their journalistic mandates. However, this reaches elevated levels when career journalists become so taken with power that they decide to become those they are charged to cover.

In recent years, a number of mainstream journalists have tried to make the leap from reporter to politician. While some of these have done so to make political statements or have altruistic motivations, many have sought positions of influence after covering the influential for years. They have chosen power over the job of keeping it in check.

This is not a new phenomenon in America. Since the 1800s, journalists have been making the leap from the pen to the penthouse. And newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst was famous for his view that journalists didn't even have to leave their posts to become the powerful. In a 1898 New York Journal editorial, Hearst wrote:

The force of the newspaper is the greatest force in civilization. Under republican government, newspapers form and express opinion. They suggest and control legislation. They declare wars. They punish criminals, especially the powerful. They reward with approving publicity the good deeds of citizens everywhere. The newspapers control the nation because THEY REPRESENT THE PEOPLE.
Today, too many journalists fawn over those who control the nation and wish that they themselves were in control. And not by influencing public opinion, as Hearst sought. But by stepping into the elite's inner circle.  

Miller and 60 Minutes, with their jointly-produced NSA infomercial, did this country a favor by throwing back the curtain briefly and exposing a journalism run a amok – a journalism produced by those who worship power.

They also reminded us why, in today's age, independent media sources are so vital to a vibrant democracy. For someone must expose those insiders who pose as journalists, pretending to give us the real story.


What Do You Buy For the Children
David Harris-Gershon is author of the memoir What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, just out from Oneworld Publications.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "If the Jew who struggles for justice for Palestine is considered anti-Semitic, & if Palestinians seeking self-determination are so accused...then no oppositional move can take place w/o risking the accusation." - Judith Butler

    by David Harris Gershon on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 09:52:42 AM PST

  •  Most "celebrity journalists," I've found... (6+ / 0-) the course of my career (and I've worked with many), to be little more than egomaniacs that are shamelessly consumed with their own self-importance and...yes...power! And, recently, I've found it's now getting to that point with a few in the blogosphere, as well.

    "Absolute power corrupts...absolutely..." and all that...

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Dec 17, 2013 at 10:17:43 AM PST

  •  If one was stunned by the lack of objectivity (2+ / 0-)

    in the 60 Minutes segment, than one should be outraged at the lack of journalistic ethics in allowing John Miller to report the story. CBS had to have know the score and the conflict of interest. Even without the NYPD job he was taking, his past ties should have made CBS disqualify him from being allowed to do the segment.

    Harkens back to the days of Judith Miller and her specious reporting on Iraqi WMD, with her ties to the neo-conservatives.

  •  CBS has been corrupted by Fox News. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    And until that changes, 60 Minutes is dead.

    In the words of Greg Mitchell, former editor of Editor & Publisher:

    Few seem to realize that a former Fox News exec became the head of the CBS News in February 2011. He is David Rhodes. His bio at CBS declares:

        He directs network newsgathering for all CBS News platforms including television,, and CBS News Radio.

        With CBS News Chairman Jeff Fager, Rhodes has led a division-wide rejuvenation of the storied CBS News brand, emphasizing the Original Reporting of top broadcast journalists around the world. A rededication to the news division’s hard-news roots runs through every broadcast.

    Pardon my chuckle over that last sentence.

    The bio also reveals:

        Rhodes began his career as a Production Assistant at the newly-launched Fox News Channel in 1996, where he later became Vice President of News. At the network he managed coverage of three presidential elections, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, hurricanes including Katrina, and was the channel’s Assignment Manager on the news desk the morning of September 11, 2001.

    So, imagine: This was the guy who worked hand-in-glove on the biased, often propagandistic, Fox “coverage” of the run-up to the Iraq war, the 2000/2004/2008 elections, the Plame affair, the worst years in Iraq, and all other things Bush and Cheney, and so on.

    Rest in Peace 60 Minutes and the Era of its founder and producer, Don Hewitt

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