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New skirmishes reveal J-schools have been resisting takeovers by Marxists in their ranks 9/29/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Government, J-schools.
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A jaw-dropping new article titled “The Uncle Sam Solution” in the Columbia Journalism Review gives serious consideration to the unserious idea that news outlets become welfare queens — getting out of their current financial miseries by getting on the government dole. University of Illinois Professor Robert McChesney is quoted in full, totalitarian-state mode saying, “The nation was built on the idea that we have to put into place policies that guarantee journalism no matter what.” University of Missouri’s Geneva Overholser has written an article “On Behalf of Journalism: A Manifesto for Change,” presumably borrowing the term “manifesto” from Karl Marx’s classic work in what seems suspiciously like a wink to fellow travelers. She is quoted saying, “There are clearly roles that the government’s going to play, and I think we need to be smart about how we stand up to the ones we don’t want them to play and also how we can think creatively about constructive roles.”

While it was heartening that the article quoted leading modern journalism apologist Tom Rosenstiel demanding that this wacky idea immediately be taken “off the table,” the mainstream media movement he represents has always been on the right side of this issue for the wrong reasons. Modern journalists presumptuously believe that as indispensable arbiters and guardians of the “truth,” they must be independent of government just as they must be independent of pressures from anyone or anything — no pressures allowed from government, employers, business competition, corporate takeovers, advertisers, even the demands of their own readers with their questionable judgment and taste for sensationalism.

The right reason for news to be independent from government is the Jeffersonian view that the press’ key role is to serve as a “fence” specifically against government, which would naturally and otherwise begin to use its power to encroach on the individual rights that are the basis of our nation. Modern journalists have made strange and irritating bedfellows for the American people all these years — but at least they have forced the Marxists to sleep on the couch.

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