Thursday, July 02, 2009

Updating Humbert Wolfe

You cannot hope
to bribe or twist,
thank God! the
British U.S. journalist.

But, seeing what
the man will do
unbribed, there's
no occasion to.

-- Humbert Wolfe (almost)


PS: On the topic that is the subject of the first stanza's links, I particularly liked this bit from Washington Post publisher Katharine Weymouth (via):
Weymouth knew of the plans to host small dinners at her home and to charge lobbying and trade organizations for participation. But, one of the executives said, she believed that there would be multiple sponsors, to minimize any appearance of charging for access, and that the newsroom would be in charge of the scope and content of any dinners in which Post reporters and editors participated.
Ah yes, if there are multiple sponsors -- perhaps I should say "sponsors" -- that totally means you're not charging for access. And I love how her concern isn't that they might actually be charging for access, but simply that it might appear that way -- so they need a bit of cover. You can understand the misunderstandings that might result from language like "Underwriting Opportunity: An evening with the right people can alter the debate".

Oh, and the Post's Executive Editor, Marcus Brauchli's line -- "you cannot buy access to a Washington Post journalist" -- is a great example of the genre of lie including such classics as "we don't torture" and "I did not have sex with that woman". Call it the "who are you going to believe, me or your own lying eyes" genre.

But you see? Even as I describe it, I fall into the trap: the outright bribe is so much more outrageous than the pervasive power-worship, excusing the criminal, and so on and so forth that the media does, it's easy to forget the latter is far more important in its effects.

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