Gone are the good old days

Hubby and I watched The Pelican Brief on TV last night. For those who have never seen the movie the plot revolves around a law school student who uncovers some shady dealings connecting the murder of two supreme court justices to the president of the United States. The president's camp gets wind of what the law school student knows and proceeds to try to "take care" of the problem. The student turns to a investigative journalist to help her expose the truth and save her life. The movie made me think about, and mourn, the good old days of journalism.

In the good old days of journalism if the little guy was being stepped on by the big guy the little guy could turn to a reporter for help. The reported would tell the little guy's story. Perhaps the big guy would be shamed into backing off or doing the right thing. Not so much any more. Now the reporter is just as likely to step on the little guy as any big guy they might have held in check in the past. There are still some who remember what journalism is about but they seem to be more the exception than the rule.

These days the media seems more interested in just sticking it to the big guy than actually reporting the truth. Remember the CBS memo fiasco and Newsweek's recent toilet and holy book issues? What's worse is that the media doesn't seem to understand that they have lost the trust and respect of the people they might have once tried to protect. There are still people arguing that CBS, and now Newsweek, did nothing wrong.

As old media has abdicated their role as defender of the little guy and clarion caller of truth the little guy has taken to defending himself and revealing the truth himself. Blogs are the new voice of the little guy. With them he can take on all comers including governments and the media juggernaut that has forsaken him.

I begin to wonder now if the ideal of the good old days of journalism ever really existed.


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