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American Journalism Review
Jaundiced and Then Some  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  Letters
From AJR,   October/November 2004

Jaundiced and Then Some   

Regarding your article "Low marks" (August/September 2004), one is struck by the amount of space devoted to all kinds of opinion regarding the issue with hardly a hint a WHY American journalism is in such low repute. One may offer some obvious reasons:

1. Far too much emphasis on sensationalism, too little on revealing truth or reason in reporting.

2. Failure of journalists to take a reasoned stand and point out facts or reveal (even better, to counter) distortions and lies, and hiding behind pseudo "objectivity."

3. Far too much willingness on the part of journalists to stand by gleefully during a mudslinging session between political opponents and keep score on who "won" rather than pointing out the futility of such trash.

4. The incredible failure of journalists to check their sources, and the tendency to accept anything and everything from a source that will result in a "scoop" or create a sensation. The most notable recent example was the whole-cloth lie about Saddam's possession of WMD by all the major newspapers and TV news outlets.

And the list could go on and on and on.

If your article fears that the thinking and critical reasoning public is merely "jaundiced," you are far off the mark. Many of us are disgusted, angry and fearful that American journalism has sunk permanently into Rupert Murdoch's trap. Destruction of what was once reputable journalism appears to be on the near horizon, thanks to the competition that has resulted between Murdoch's trash media (including Fox News) and the "mainline" media. We wonder if American journalism will ever recover.

Francis V. Scalzi
Scottsdale, Arizona



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