Pity the poor reporters

Pity the poor reporters

by digby

The plaintive wail of the impatient journalist waiting to be spoon-fed the news:
"The range of suspects and motives remains wide open," FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers said, for the umpteenth time, at a press conference early Tuesday evening.

For many journalists I've spoken with today, this ignorance is tortuous. The identification of the attacker(s) and the reasons for the attack will likely have enormous political (and potentially geoplitical) ramifications, which will vary greatly depending on whether the attacker(s) is domestic or foreign, acting alone or as part of an organization. We're standing on the verge of a very important national conversation about something, and we have no idea what it is.

Others have managed to find solace in this. Over at the American Interest, Walter Russell Mead welcomes the waiting period. "It allows us to treat the horror on its own terms, to see the pure evil of this act divorced from any rationalization or justification," he writes. "Each hour that has gone by since the blast, each new report of heroism among the survivors and responders, each new detail about the identity of the victims clarifies the essential truth of the situation: there is no cause that can justify this deed."

I agree with that last point, but find no similar solace. I want to know the cause -- not because I'm eager to politicize the tragedy, but because I want to know where our national conversation is headed. A great deal of political, financial and emotional capital depends on the answer to that question.
Right.  He doesn't want to "politicize" it he just wants to know where the political, financial and emotional "capital" will be spent.

I have read a lot of fatuous reporting on this event but I think this one may take the cake. The idea that they are "tortured" because they don't yet have all the information is just ridiculous. Moreover, the whining, passive tone is embarrassing. Reporters should be beyond busy right now (and many are),  trying to get the story. Find new angles, write about the victims, get perspectives from people who've been there or from experts, contextualize it. Just waiting around for someone to tell you who did it so you know whether it's going to be a "left" or "right" story isn't actually journalism.  I don't even think it's blogging.  He could, for instance write about something else. It's not the only story in the world.

This is a perfect example of what's wrong with the beltway press. They literally see everything in the world in terms of the way it's divided up (in their minds) politically. This is a very shallow view of humanity and it's telling that they are anxious and "tortured" when faced with a lack of the information that would allow them to fit their news pegs neatly into their designated holes. I've always thought there was a psychological dimension to this and this seems to confirm it.

This attitude is a problem and not just for the press but for all of us. The world is a messy place and we need journalism that doesn't rigidly adhere to a particular narrative in order to understand it. It's gotten us into a lot of trouble in recent years.