The Anchoress weighs in on last week's "Outside Voices", in which Columbia University professor Samuel Freedman wrote about his "despair" over the way "citizen journalism" has helped "degrade" professional journalism. While noting the value of having first-hand citizen accounts of the news, Freedman writes, "Yet I recognize those accounts are less journalism than the raw material, generated by amateurs, that a trained, skilled journalist should know how to weigh, analyze, describe, and explain." The Anchoress responds:
Freedman mentions the "gate-keepers" - the supposed shining-light of "legitimate" journalism - the "mediating intelligence" that separates "real" journalism from frummery and partisan hackery.
"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" It means, "who will guard the guards," or "who will act as gatekeeper to the gatekeepers?"
I don't suppose Freedman would take kindly to anyone suggesting that, in a way, those pesky bloggers and talk radio people are - in some, clearly not all cases - the guardians of the guards, the gatekeepers narrowing their eyes at the gatekeepers and saying, "oh yeah? 'Zat so? What's your source? How come you left out this part of the transcript? Why should we believe all those "anonymous" comments and tips? Who are those "some" that Katie Couric keeps telling us "say" all those things?"
But the thing is, a legitimate gatekeeper - one seriously committed to his trusted charge, one dedicated to the service of the whole tribe - should be only to happy to know that - for his own protection - he too must know the password and be able to prove who he is.
Our gatekeepers in the press seem oddly offended by that idea.