Myths of Journalism

I made reference a few days ago to the myth of journalist as noble culture-hero. Seems like someone else has given the issue a lot more thought. There’s a lot of good material about journalism as religion, but this quote seems particularly relevant:
In the newsroom faith that I have been describing, Watergate is not just a big, big story with a knock-out ending. It is the great redemptive tale believers learn to tell about the press and what it can do for the American people. It is a story of national salvation: truth their only weapon, journalists save the day. Whether the story can continue to claim enough believers--and connect the humble to the heroic in journalism--is to my mind a big question. Whether it should continue is an even better question.
The idea of a religion of journalism explains a lot of the reaction from professional journalists to media criticism from the general populace. We are questioning their deeply held faith and trying to destroy the temple from without. Of course they're going to react poorly.


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