Mike Daisey vs. The View From Nowhere

Mike Daisey, in a Facebook comment thread, confronts a former CNN vice-president with the press’s blindness to its own sickness, in the wake of CNN’s much-derided coverage of the Steubenville rape trial:

This is an absolutely perfect example of a story that tells all the facts in front of these reporters, and they have totally failed to tell the truth of the story.

To the rejoinder, “Kindly tell me your journalism training,” Daisey responds:

And here would be the bullshit part where the experts, who have clearly fucked up the story, demand everyone else’s credentials as though it is still 1978. Cheap and tacky. My credentials are that I’m a goddamn conscious citizen.

And thus we find ourselves once again at the root of the broader problem: A failure of imagination on the part of many in the press establishment to recognize that transcription is not the same as telling the truth, and not the same as seeking or arriving at the truth. I’ve talked about this before in the context of the tech press’s inability to stomach the license taken by screenwriters or Daisey himself in his theatrical work. But it’s a problem with the entire industry, and it’s an industry that is on its way to being upended by the growing number of savvy news consumers who demand, and the reporters and outlets that can deliver, more than recitation.

2 thoughts on “Mike Daisey vs. The View From Nowhere”

  1. “Kindly tell me your journalism training”
    The arrogance of such an attitude is appalling. So-called “journalism schools” don’t teach people how to think, research or write, they teach people how to edit 30 and 60 second sound bites and present themselves on TV. Those with “journalism degrees” are some of the least qualified to work as investigative reporters.
    To anyone who says “tell me your journalism training”, I would tell them to check the “journalism training” of people like Ernest Hemingway (high school diploma), Walter Cronkite (college dropout), Bob Woodward (English literature and history) or Seymour Hersh (law school dropout). A lot of the most famous journalists – especially those considered the best – never attended “journalism schools”. They studied a variety of things (e.g. literature, sciences, languages, etc.) or never attended college at all. Some of them never finished high school at all.
    Who really would make a better reporter, who would ask tougher and more thorough questions and would be more likely to check facts?
    (a) someone with a BA from a “journalism school”
    (b) a college dropout who studied science for three years
    I’d put my money on the one who was trained how to think.


  2. “Kindly tell me your journalism training”
    Well it’s the old courtier’s replyto avoid having to justify oneself. And Bonnie Anderson must have a fairly loose grip on truth herself if she states her father was personally executed by Fidel Castro.


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