03 February 2008

That's some journalist...

Being himself a journalist, Ambrose Bierce didn't define "Journalist" in The Devil's Dictionary. The only mention of this venerable occupation he made in this document:

There are men called journalists who have established ink baths which some persons pay money to get into, others to get out of. Not infrequently it occurs that a person who has paid to get in pays twice as much to get out.
Of course, when I get indignant about journalists, I don't mean them all, just some specific ones that get on my nerves. Some of my best friends etc...

In this specific case, though, it is not just a professional journalist, it's a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign policy correspondent for the New York Times, one Joel Brinkley. And the reason he got on my nerves is the following quote from his article Hamas explodes a giant hole in Egypt's political cover.
For months now, Hamas has been firing rocket volleys over the Gaza border fence into Israel. Most fall harmlessly in the desert, but the attacks terrify and occasionally injure citizens of Sderot, a small town just east of Gaza. In response, Israel has cut fuel and other supplies to Gaza.
It is more than seven (7) years, and aside of hundreds "occasionally injured" there are thirteen (13) dead by now. You would think that a veteran journalist like this one could at least open a Wiki entry on the subject. But no, it would have interfered with his analytical effort.

The article as a whole is full of doubtful statements and conclusions, but they can be attributed to professor's somewhat faulty analytical abilities. At least it explains why NYT got its reputation for under-researched (to be gentle) articles and frequent disregard of facts that don't match the journalist's agenda.

I wonder what kind of standards does professor Brinkley impress on the youngsters in Stanford.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.