Lest we forget the press

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The closing para from an op-ed by a Notre Dame ethics professor Joseph Holt, published by CNN (“Editor’s Note: The views expressed here are solely the author’s.” Yeah, in a technical sense yes; in reality, who are you kidding?) and titled: “The press isn’t the enemy, it’s the protector”:

We thank soldiers for their service because they devote themselves to protecting our freedoms, and we should. But we should also thank the media for the same reason — especially when the stakes have never been higher.

This is what happens when you’re tell your child he/she/it/they is/are special. Except it has been done by the journalism schools at universities, convincing generations of students forking out big bucks for a degree that won’t take most of them anywhere that they are not simply glorified stenographers to life but fearless heroes who speak truth to power, agitate for a better society, and are the last thin blue line protecting our democracy from tyranny. Now everyone in the media thinks they are a love child of Woodward & Bernestein and Upton Sinclair. They are soldiers – nay, crusading warrior-priests, because there is something almost religious about the self-regard and self-perception; the mission is sacred and any criticism is a sacrilege and cannot be tolerated (like the “You are all fake news” t-shirt).

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Media aren’t soldiers. They don’t put their lives on the line, and unlike soldiers, the ones who cry the most about the value of their work are the most famous, most pampered and best rewarded ones in the business. They don’t deserve any more thanks for “protecting our freedoms” than politicians, judges, bureaucrats, pressure groups, political parties, community organisations, and average citizens – none of whom, by the way, expect thanks. And for the stakes never been higher, no it’s not Stalingrad.

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