Will there be another Watergate?

After reading Jay Rosen’s South by Southwest talk, I was struck by many things. But the element that really intrigued me came at the end because it’s something we’ve discussed briefly in class, but that I think is becoming one of the main critiques of modern journalism: Journalists are so focused on remaining “unbiased” that this is often to the detriment of their stories. For example, I think it’s fascinating that for every story discussing the obvious effects global warming is having on our planet, there needs to be some mention of the skepticism that global warming is even real, held by a very small minority of people. This all so that no one can claim a journalist is showing a bias. When Rosen says that most journalists entered the field to make a difference — not provide basic facts about something — he’s 100% accurate. And yet we’ve reached a point where even a theory held by 97-98% of scientists needs to be taken with a grain of salt. The NYT actually wrote an interesting editorial on this phenomenon, asking if they needed to fact check what people told them and report in the story if it was real or not. Unsurprisingly, people responded with a resounding “Duh.”

My question is would a Woodward/Bernstein type story even work today? Funding/resource issues aside, would a Watergate-esque story even make it past a pitch meeting at any mainstream, “unbiased” publication? Or are these kind of investigative, “biased” pieces only possible in publications such as Mother Jones and the Atlantic, which have very obvious political leanings? And what is this representative of for journalism as a whole? Can we only count on mainstream publications for hard-fact pieces that give us who, what and where, but nothing more? And why has this insistence on remaining unbiased — to the point of reporting falsehoods to represent both sids of a story — occurred in recent decades?

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One Response to “Will there be another Watergate?”

  1. Good blog post, nice efforts. It couldn’t appear to have been penned any better. Reading this article piece of writing reminds me about my old boss! He usually kept babbling about this. I will email this post to him. Pretty confident he will probably have a high-quality read. Appreciate your posting!

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