Letters: Wednesday, June 08, 2005
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Clue In the Media

To the editor: After a promising first paragraph tease, Steve Novotni’s “Reclaiming the Mess Media” (On Second Thought, May 25, 2005) descended into a disappointingly bland description of media reformers whose very cluelessness about what the news media need is itself part of the problem.
What were these media reformers aspiring to do? “They were looking for ways to re-establish trust, root out corruption, and replace the mainstream with a rich mixture of divergent voices.” This is the kind of defensive posturing that is a sure recipe for re-affirming the status quo. Indeed, it is a description of the status quo.
What is lacking here is the only thing that should matter to a competent journalist, namely the dedication to uncovering the unvarnished truth. This is what was most glaringly lost in the Dan Rather National Guard and Newsweek Koran flaps, among others. Neither CBS nor Newsweek needed to apologize. Instead, they should have defiantly dared their critics to prove them wrong. The issue of sources, reliable or not, was a red herring that everyone pursued to the detriment of the stories themselves.
Clearly we have all forgotten the lesson established by Andrew Hamilton when he achieved acquittal for John Peter Zenger (printer of The New York Weekly Journal) in the face of the accusation of seditious libel brought by the first famous Bill Cosby (captain-general and governor-in-chief of New York province in the early 1730s).
Hamilton’s landmark defense, a precursor of our tradition of freedom of the press, rested on the principle that truth is an absolute defense against the accusation of libel. In our poisonous universe of political discourse, our leaders have established with impunity the practice that the accusation of libel is an absolute defense against the truth. Zenger and Hamilton must be turning over in their graves.
Bob Zaslavsky
Fort Worth



Email this Article...

Back to Top


Copyright 2002 to 2017 FW Weekly.
3311 Hamilton Ave. Fort Worth, TX 76107
Phone: (817) 321-9700 - Fax: (817) 335-9575 - Email Contact
Archive System by PrimeSite Web Solutions