JTP Now JTR [Dan Collins]
By now many of you have heard that Joe Ã¢â‚¬Å“the PlumberÃ¢â‚¬Â Wurzelbacher is leaving for Israel tomorrow to be a war correspondent for Pajamas TV. Ã‚Â This has created quite a brouhaha in the media – cable television, newspapers, wire services, etc. Ã‚Â Everyone from CNN to gawker.com has something to say about Joe heading for the Middle East. Ã‚Â He will appear on Fox and Friends tomorrow morning before his departure.
To be honest, some (maybe much) of this reportage is pretty snotty. Nora OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Donnell of MSNBC – herself a MA in international relations, lahdeedah – fairly frothed at the mouth at the prospect of the unqualified Joe having the temerity to report news in a foreign land. Those hipoisie over at Gawker werenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t too charitable either.
Evidently, a lot of people are annoyed that JoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fifteen Warhol minutes arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t quite over yet. Ã‚Â Or perhaps theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re threatened that a common man can be a reporter simply by asking common sense questions – no Columbia J-school degree required. (Hemingway didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have one. Ã‚Â He didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even go to college, as I recall.) But the larger question is the role of expertise in general. Ã‚Â Of course, experts are valuable, but so are those who ask the seemingly too obvious questions of the supposedly uninformed – dumb questions that can end up having more value for the public than all the experts combined. Sometimes, anyway.
Does Wurzelbacher even have a license to report?Ã‚Â Given that some people who ought to be in jail–such as, say, Eliot Spitzer–have been given columns at major lefty intarweb forums, some people might be best served by not whinging.
Speaking of which, Dan Froomkin responds to an interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt in which Schmidt talks about ways in which Google might help the newspaper industry.Ã‚Â One of his suggestions is this:
* Create a journalist-mediated repository of citizen journalism. Hire professional journalists to “accredit” excellent citizen journalism and train citizen journalists.
This is problematic, to say the least.Ã‚Â Does he envision something like the French Academy?Ã‚Â How will such a body ensure that its political bias doesn’t interfere with its decisions on whom to accredit?
Take his suggestions on the whole, and then consider: what would the left feel about such an arrangement if it were conducted under the auspices of Rupert Murdoch?Ã‚Â Either way would be, in my view, preferable to a government stake in media ownership (something that ought to be resisted with more passion than mandatory (Christian) prayer in public schools), but shouldn’t such suggestions evoke concerns?