Monday, April 25, 2005


Brian Leiter post here:
In most fields which require the ability to use words and ideas, many of those who make it to "the very top" have intellectual content and ability: this is true in law, in philosophy, in economics, and so on. But it is rather painfully not true in journalism, where, in general, "quality rises to the bottom." There are honorable exceptions, but they are few and far between.

Given that banal observation--a commonplace outside newsrooms--one might think it slightly perverse that media outlets should elevate former journalists to the role of pundits, analysts, and news commentators. The worst offender--if only because the most visible--has been The New York Times, which until fairly recently (Paul Krugman, an actual economist is the exception I can think of), has boasted op-ed columnists who were all former journalists.

Why not former scientists? sociologists? psychologists? philosophers? even political scientists? Who--other than journalists, that is--would think years of being a journalist qualifies you to have substantial opinions about the affairs of the world?

Herewith Karl Kraus (I may be mangling the aphorism slightly): "No ideas and the ability to express them: that's a journalist."

I'd also recommend reading if you want to laugh at journalists.


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