The Forth Estate


There are more blogs, “web magazines”, journals, and electronic pamphleteers,
then ever before. Most are nothing more then fancy electronic versions of the mass mailed Christmas letter from “that” distant (and most times, not far enough) friend or relative, put out in monthly or weekly version. Still others are geared toward a specific hobby, cause, like (or dislike), geared toward said enthusiasts immediate interests. But these, along with those who keep a “public diary” of events exclusive to personal events in their lives, are not whom I am addressing.
Specifically:
I speak of those who comment on not only daily events (“the news”), but who on their own are beginning to “ferret” leads and or potential news. Those, who in one way or another, may be about to take the place of what is (or more correctly “was”) once called “the fact checkers”. The fact checkers being the print media.
The pundits. Opining on everything. Be it our culture, politicos of any and all
stripes, news of the day, items of interest, or the current state of mankind in
general. Though, their point of view varies for any number of reasons, one can with little trouble at all (Google, or any of the other search engines out there, are indeed your friends.) find a voice(s) which speak directly to your personal
heart of hearts.
Which leads to this. Concerning ourselves with news reviewers/reporters, pundits, and those of special interest (for example, Stop the ACLU), we have all the elements present one would find in any major daily paper, as they exist right now.
So I wonder, especially after what passed for informative coverage during the
past election. Are we on the brink of a “sea change”? Are we about to assume the mantle of “The Fourth Estate”? ( Be it as an inheritance, or
out and out usurping is fodder for another time.) At least as far as print media is concerned?
I don’t claim to be a “big dog” on the net. Hell, I would be happy being the big fish in my little hamlet. (though I wouldn’t turn down any offers) In reading a number of the voices out there, who are of equal or higher caliber/quality then what has passed for commentary/reporting/editorializing in the print media for at least the past 30-40 years, it is my semi-educated opinion, most of us are more then qualified to take on the job.
There are those who would raise raise a hue and cry about standards”/”qualifications”, and “accountablity”.
To which I reply:
1. Standards (ethical and otherwise). You must be joking! Especially after the last election cycle. Putting aside the Democratic candidate’s political agenda, or the running of his campaign, the existing “Forth Estate” gave up their standards and ethics faster then a twenty dollar hooker drops her panties at the sight of a fifty dollar bill, by their lack of in-depth investigative reporting. Obama was the main stream media’s thirty pieces of silver. And judging by the print media’s fiscal bottom lines as of late, that wasn’t nearly enough “coins”.
2. Qualifications/College education/Certification(s). Yes, what was I
thinking. The legions of newspapermen, going back to when this country was
founded, read like a who’s who from the hallowed halls of colleges and universities world wide…..NOT. Though some had degrees, and others through their efforts were given honorary degrees, it was never a requirement (up until the past 40 years or so) that one have a diploma. This is nothing more then a hoop which to jump through for no real reason at all. (Though it must make some HR department somewhere all warm and fuzzy.)
As far as qualifications went. You needed to understand and provide the following; “Who, What, Why, Where, and When”. In other words “the
facts”. If you continually strive for accuracy in your reporting, along with a bit of luck, and being in the right place at the right time, chances are you got
noticed which lead to the holy grail … a “by line”. This also assumed you paid
your dues. Perhaps starting as a copy boy, or doing time on the “Obits”. College (see above) was not a requirement. Getting the story back to your editor as soon and as complete as possible (hopefully “scooping” the other locals) was the bottom line.
As modern day scribes of the worlds events, we are no better (or worse) in meeting the qualifications which constitute “being a journalist”, or newspapermen (“men” being used in the generic here), then any of those who took up the shield and sword of the Fourth Estate in days gone by.
It is ours for the taking. My questions are: (Aside from PJM, and a handful of other major players out there.)
1. Are there any takers out there?
2. Where do we (collectively) go from here?

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1 Comment

Filed under Politics, Random Thoughts

One response to “The Forth Estate

  1. Guy, the ‘4th estate’ has always been biased and a big player in the politics of the free world..hell, it was Franklin and Paine who riled and roused the colonies again the King’s ‘guvmit’ and later on it was the newspapers who roused the public in the north against the slave holding south. And few historians doubt that the Spanish American war was contrived and pushed by the NY City media. In short..it ain’t nothing new to have a biased media. The news media has never been accused of being truthful..see, omission is a lie also.
    Where the problem lies is that the left leaning media wants a gotdam monopoly on the news. But thanks to bloggers such as you they ain’t gonna get it.
    It don’t take ‘big dawgs’ to make a serious bite in the ass of the politicians. Even us weaning pups have teeth..anyone who has twenty five people coming by probably reaches a couple of hundred or more in one way or another and those in turn reach some more in the inverted pyramid effect. So when we write out take on the news we might be reaching as many people as a small town newspaper..without the gotdam advertising..

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