August 21, 2009

Big New Journalism Idea: The Hate Beat

Matt Welch in Reason.com:

So, Missouri School of Journalism Assistant Prof. Charles Davis, a self-described "near-absolutist First Amendment advocate," is making a splash with this column advocating that newspapers create a "hate" beat. The "best way to beat hatemongering," his subhed advises, "is to report it." I didn't realize that we were now teaching strategies for "beating" various societal phenomena in J-school, but I will admit to a certain unfamiliarity with academia.

Anyway, some of Davis' writing I think illustrates, in an unintended way, why people distrust both journalists and those who deliver lectures on the topic. For instance:

Hate, shuffled off stage in the post-racial haze of the election of the nation's first black president, is back with a vengeance. Hate, if it ever truly threatened to leave the political stage, is most definitely back, larger and nastier than ever.

To get all journalistically theoretical for a moment, what is the definition of journalism? Well, I don't know, but I do know that one thick chunk of the idea is to write or say (or aim to write and say) things that are unequivocally 100 percent true, and hopefully verified in some way. This is even more true, if such a thing is mathematically possible, for those who deliver lectures on all that should be true and good about journalism.

What, class, do we notice about Davis' statement above? IT IS DEMONSTRABLY FALSE. We used to have slavery in this country, and Jim Crow laws, and all kinds of officially sanctioned, legalized discrimination against disfavored minorities. And you want to tell me that hate is "larger and nastier than ever"? We had a CIVIL WAR in this country, where people not only brought their legally licensed firearms to townhalls, but they MURDERED THE SHIT OUT OF ONE ANOTHER. How many people died in racially fueled street riots 41 years ago, compared to how many died in racially fueled street riots in 2009? This little couplet, tossed off without evident concern, as if OF COURSE we all know this is true, is blatantly, sophomorically, and insultingly untrue. It's an advertisement for the author's fundamental lack of seriousness about the very subject he aims to address.

Of course, as I and many others predicted way back, just like in the 2008 campaign any criticism of Barack Obama -- no matter HOW legitimate -- will be painted by supporters as "racist" or at the least "racially tinged." Welch goes on to note the kind of hate that will escape this new [liberal] journalist "beat": It's the kind that assumes, lack of evidence notwithstanding, that we are always but especially now that liberal Democrats run the country on the verge of a race war.

Posted by Hube at August 21, 2009 02:32 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

As I've said several times and in several places, the abuse of the race card by liberals is rendering the term "racist" meaningless -- and in the process, delegitimizing it for use against the small amount of actual racism that exists in this country.

Posted by: Rhymes With Right at August 21, 2009 07:43 PM

Without racism, or the race card to throw around, the left would be rendered powerless.

Posted by: h. at August 22, 2009 01:05 PM

These journlism profs are sure clueless at how to get more people to read papers.Cause more liberal stupidity like a "hatebeat" sure won't improve the bottom line.

If I was running a newspapers, I'd assign my reporters by zip code in my reader's areas. Cause today, papers like theInky and WNJ cover primarily stories that people don't relate to.

Posted by: AJ Lynch at August 22, 2009 01:54 PM

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