We are gathered here today to say farewell to journalism—journalism degrees, journalism as a career, any respect for the news in general. Dead, dead, dead.
I’m just a month shy of 54. When I was in college circa 1983 to 1987, Journalism was still a thing. In fact, I married a journalist (the 2nd time). A real journalist. He was an anchorman on the coast of Mississippi in the early 1980’s. Read Southern “Anchor Man.” And yes, he had the moustache and the whole nine. He told me that he was trained with the same rigor as Walter Cronkite. He had no opinion. He read the news. Ok, that’s a bit tongue in cheek, but he literally didn’t vote because he didn’t want to be perceived as biased. Imagine a world where that’s actually considered a good thing.
Back then there were only three channels on TV and being unbiased was critical because he was kind of a “big deal” in Biloxi. The goal wasn’t to sway people to your own perspective; it was to let your audience come to their own conclusions and opinions. We refer to this as “the good old days.”
Today, it appears this is no longer appreciated as a requirement for real journalism. Sadly, like economics and many other things, journalism has been completely politicized—so much so that destroying people’s lives is far more important than reporting the truth. The truth, too, is dead.
I’ve experienced this recently with a great client, an honest man who I would say is the best representation of a “gentleman politician” that I’ve seen in some time. A pharmacist, CEO and subject matter expert in all things related to medication. As a new legislator he was prolific in attempting to address the many serious healthcare issues in our state. He showed up. He created some excellent legislation. He made a difference. In Tennessee we get an A+ in fiscal responsibility and low unemployment rates but boy howdy are we unhealthy. This great state is making headway in terms of the opioid crisis and many other areas, but that doesn’t matter. It appears that what matters to so-called “journalists” is finding ways to take down someone whose politics they don’t like.
The degradation of true journalism is insidious. The younger folks don’t even remember a time when it wasn’t all about clicks, when solid journalism—and not hype—won awards. It was a time when being a journalist wasn’t a political statement; it was an honorable career.
Wherefore art thou, William Buckley. Ah yes, he too is dead.
Rest in peace, WFB.