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Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Call To All Journalists

It's fair to assume that Patrick B. Pexton, Washington Post ombudsman, will never invite Rush Limbaugh over for beers and wienies.  Which won't break Rush's heart, we can also assume.

But on what Rush's place in society is, Pexton is not only fair but unusually broad-minded (for a hack in good standing who grew up in the business of journalism).  He writes this morning (see "Journalists must be the un-Limbaugh") about what the greatest entertainer on radio is and isn't:
Rush Limbaugh is many things — comic and entertainer, talk-show host and rabble-rouser, and a quasi-politician who never seeks office. But he is not a journalist.

He doesn’t cover city councils or planning boards, courthouses, cops or crime scenes. He doesn’t cover banks or businesses, nor a governor, a legislature, Congress or the White House. He doesn’t brave bullets or battlefields as a foreign correspondent. He doesn’t sift through reams of documents and testimony, or call dozens of sources, to try to find the truth. He has no written code of ethics.

Let us never be in a hurry to be like Rush.
That's the problem, isn't it?

Rush is an entertainer. And an opinionator.

Journalists aren't either.

Or shouldn't be.

Yet too often are.

Pexton is absolutely right.

Not that any of America's journalists will heed his words of advice.

* I don't have a clue what a "quasi-politician who never seeks office" is.  But never mind that.