Monthly Archives: January 2018

Michael Wolff’s Fire & Fury: is this the future of journalism?

Murrow-Cronkite-Thompson-Wolff

As corrupt politicians evolve, so also must journalism. It may be ugly, but perhaps it’s necessary.

Scrogue Emeritus Russ Wellen forwarded along Drew Magary’s recent GQ piece on Michael Wolff this morning, and it touched off a bit of reflection on how journalism adapts in the face of an evolving landscape of social, political and economic corruption. Magary says, in part:

Everyone around Donald Trump is too polite to Donald Trump. Democrats, foreign dignitaries, underlings… all of them. And the White House press is perhaps the worst offender. From the media pool playing along with Sarah Sanders during press conferences—conferences where Sanders openly lies and pisses on democracy—to access merchants like Maggie Haberman doling out Trump gossip like so many bread crumbs, too many reporters have been far too deferential to an administration that is brazenly racist, dysfunctional, and corrupt. And for what purpose? It’s clear to me that Haberman and the like aren’t saving up their chits for just the EXACT right time to bring this Administration down. No, the only end goal of their access is continued access, to preserve it indefinitely so that the copy spigot never gets shut off. They are abiding by traditional wink-wink understandings that have long existed between the government and the press covering it.

But Wolff didn’t do that. He did not engage in some endless bullshit access tango. No, Wolff actually USED his access, and extended zero courtesy to Trump on the process, and it’s going to pay off for him not just from a book sales standpoint, but from a real journalistic impact. I am utterly sick to death of hearing anonymous reports about people inside the White House “concerned” about the madman currently in charge of everything. These people don’t deserve the courtesy of discretion. They don’t deserve to dictate the terms of coverage to people. They deserve to be torched.

Magary’s take recalled a fascinating Facebook thread from last week, initiated by Tom Yulsman. Tom is Professor of Journalism in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the University of Colorado and director of the Center for Environmental Journalism. He’s also creator of the ImaGeo blog at Discover. So he might be fairly viewed as having an informed opinion on matters of journalism. Read more