From Intercollegiate Review, May 2013, a timeless classic. Read the whole thing here. Career advice from my newsroom hero, supreme champion pugilist of punditry, brilliant bombshell of bodacious badassery, Mollie Z. Hemingway:
There has never been a better time to consider a career in journalism.
Newspapers are thriving, magazines are innovating, online journalism listicles are becoming more substantive, and cable-news talking heads are shouting at holograms.
Journalists are living up to our reputation as the country’s most trusted profession (at least compared to IRS agents and American Airlines customer-service representatives). Whether it’s our nuanced and thoughtful analysis of hot-button topics such as gay marriage or our tenacious coverage of the terrorist attack in Benghazi and Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s abortion clinic in Philadelphia, people know you can count on us to get the story right.
Would you like to succeed in this environment? As a long-time reporter and media critic, I’m happy to share tips on what to do if you want to make it in modern journalism.
Don’t Sweat the Details
Is there a difference between an Evangelical and an evangelist? Who cares? Don’t know the technical reason why Christians celebrate Easter? Will anyone really notice? Do you confuse the author of Hebrews with Paris booksellers?We all do! Whether you’re reporting on important U.S. Supreme Court decisions or how many people died in a terrorist bombing, what’s most important is getting the story first, not getting the story right, particularly under the pressure of a 24-hour news cycle.
Don’t Question Authority
If the powers-that-be suggest that a terrorist attack on the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 was the spontaneous and direct result of an unseen YouTube video with junior high school production values, who are you to be skeptical?
If these same authority figures suggest that therefore it’s dangerous for Americans to speak freely, share their religious views, and express their artistic sensibilities however they want, you should probably just join them in calling for restrictions on these First Amendment freedoms.
Likewise, if a politician suggests that the reports of scandal surrounding his administration are overblown, leave him alone already. Would he lie? One good thing to remember is that, generally speaking, only Republican politicians mislead. The sooner you figure that out, the more quickly you’ll be on your way to working at the New York Times.
Recently, some journalists asked the military about reports that the armed services were cracking down on Evangelical Christians. Military spokesmen assured the reporters that there was nothing to worry about. The good reporters figured that meant the case was closed.
Remember Your Job Is to Advance Narratives, Not Report Facts
CNBC’s John Harwood said recently, “Those of us in political-media world should just shut up about ‘narratives’ and focus on what’s true.” Spoken like a real nobody. We’re in the Golden Era of narratives. Facts are for old-timers. Take the story about the Health and Human Service Department’s Obamacare-inspired regulation requiring all employers (regardless of religious objections) to provide employee insurance covering birth control, sterilization, and abortifacients at no cost to the employee. Would you rather report the actual details about this, including claims that it is an unprecedented restriction on religious liberty, or simply call any attempts to fight it part of a “war on women”? Exactly. You know the right thing to do.
Eric Cantor delivered his final remarks as the House majority leader in front of a full chamber on Tuesday, thanking his colleagues for their service and urging them not to take their positions for granted.
Although “too many are left wondering if we can be an America that works, an America that leads,” Cantor remained confident that Congress and the nation as a whole would continue to be a shining light in the world, pointing to some of his legislative accomplishments as examples…(read more)
[Below is a video of Cantor's speech, before he put on the costume and performed the sentimental farewell song.]
Immigration is now President Obama’s worst issue http://t.co/aELOG7Si4M
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) July 31, 2014
On Wednesday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer said that Democrats will come to rue their response to President Obama’s executive overreach…
“The president’s job is not, as the president says, to help people — that’s his interpretation of what he does — it’s to faithfully execute the laws that Congress has passed. That is as clear as day. That’s the definition of his job.”
BULLETIN: The expected “International Freakout of August 2014″ downgrade has been suspended until further notice, as panic conditions worldwide appear to remain unchanged. According to our sources there are indications that global panic conditions are on track to worsen, rather than improve, unfortunately, though we remain hopeful that a downgrade is still on the horizon. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Stay tuned for further announcements.
— Bob Owens (@bob_owens) July 31, 2014
“The most frightening candidate I’ve met in seven years interviewing congressional hopefuls.”
— David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report
For The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas reports: The campaign of a conservative woman running for Congress in Louisiana is firing back after an analyst of the non-partisan Cook Political Report called her “frightening.”
“They’re supposed to analyze the race. They’re supposed to talk about demographics. They’re supposed to talk about geography. They’re supposed to talk about our opposition. But he just jumped her from the beginning.”
– Chris Comeaux, communications director for Rep. Lenar Whitney
“It’s just liberal elites hating conservative women,” charged Chris Comeaux, the communications director for Louisiana state Rep. Lenar Whitney.
Earlier Wednesday, the Washington Post published an article by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report calling Whitney, “The most frightening candidate I’ve met in seven years interviewing congressional hopefuls.”
“We were just like, this isn’t productive. You’re just trying to get her to say something stupid.”
Wasserman, who is the House editor for The Cook Political Report, described in his story how Whitney and her aides abruptly left during an in-person interview in Washington. Wasserman said he had been questioning Whitney on the scientific source of her claims about climate change, and whether she believes President Obama was born in the United States.
“They are lumping all the conservative women together. It’s just oh, you’re conservative and you’re a woman, we must destroy you.”
– Chris Comeaux
“It was the first time in hundreds of Cook Political Report meetings that a candidate has fled the room,” wrote Wasserman, who estimates interviewing 300 congressional candidates throughout his career. Read the rest of this entry »
Frustrated by GOP’s Unwillingness to Take the Bait, Obama Signs First-Ever Self-Impeachment Order
‘If the Republicans aren’t willing to work with me on this, I’ll do it myself.’
Critics Blast Obama’s Action as “Irresponsible”, “Reckless”, Dems Fear Constitutional Crisis.
Congress Accuses Obama of “Presidential Reach-Around.”
Report: Nancy Pelosi Seen in Senate Bathroom, Weeping and Throwing Up.
Senior White House Officials Not warned in Advance, Stunned by President’s Decision.
“I’m ready to retire anyway. Who needs this? They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the middle class, what I’ve done for the children…”
“They don’t appreciate what I’ve done for the bureacrats, what I’ve done for the banks, and for Wall Street, what I’ve sacrificed for the future of the Democratic Party. Screw ‘em. I’m done.”
– Obama, after signing historic Self-Impeachment order.
Lois Lerner Called Conservatives ‘Assholes,’ Fantasized About Working At Obama Group
“Well, you should hear the whacko wing of the GOP. The US is through; too many foreigners sucking the teat; time to hunker down, buy ammo and food, and prepare for the end. The right wing radio shows are scary to listen to.”
“So we don’t need to worry about teRroists [sic]. It’s our own crazies that will take us down,” Lerner wrote in a Nov. 9, 2012 email exchange with an IRS colleague.
Ways and Means Committee chairman Dave Camp revealed the emails in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.
Lerner’s disdain for the right is central to an investigation into whether she targeted conservative groups who were seeking tax-exempt status. Republicans have accused the former director of the IRS’s exempt organizations division of possible criminal wrongdoing in targeting the groups.
“Great. Maybe we are through if there are that many assholes.”
– Lois Lerner
“This email shows that Ms. Lerner’s mistreatment of conservative groups was driven by her personal hostility toward conservatives,” Camp wrote. Read the rest of this entry »
— Byron York (@ByronYork) July 30, 2014
[VIDEO] MSNBC: Andrea Mitchell Ponders Soul Loss, Suffers Existential Confusion in Interview with Israeli Ambassador Ron DermerPosted: July 30, 2014
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell to Israeli Ambassador: ‘Israel May Be Losing Its Soul’ Over Gaza
[Also see: MSNBC Falls to 4th in Cable News Ratings...]
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell sat down today with Ron Dermer, the Israeli ambassador to the United States, and asked him a provocative question: is Israel “losing its soul [and] may be losing the war because of the political impact of what is happening on the ground” in Gaza?
Mitchell brought this up in the context of images depicting wounded and killed Palestinians, in those conditions as a possible result of Israeli bombing.
“The difference is Hamas is using their civilians as human shields. They’re placing missile batteries in hospitals, they’re putting weapons depots in mosques. They’re storing rockets in UN schools. This is sick and grotesque.”
Dermer insisted, “Israel is not losing its soul. We are upholding our values under the most extreme circumstances.” Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, John Nolte reports: There has not been a majority party in Israel for decades. Israelis are as politically divided as Americans in many ways. There is no national consensus on anything. But the Israeli people have unified behind Prime Minister Netanyahu. A recent poll shows he is twice as popular in Israel as Barack Obama is in America.
The Jerusalem Post‘s Herb Keinon reports that a whopping 82% of Israelis “are satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance during [the Gaza] crisis.” According to the latest Gallup poll, Obama’s current American job approval rating, in the midst of numerous crises, is 40%, with 54% disapproving.
Israel firmly behind Netanyahu. Channel 2 poll: 82% are satisfied with Netanyahu’s performance during crisis, 10% not. (Last week 57%-35%)
— Herb Keinon (@HerbKeinon) July 24, 2014
Also of interest is where Israelis stand on the military action currently taking place in Gaza. Israelis might be split on when the action should end, but the split is way outside of the universe where Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are operating. Read the rest of this entry »
Breathtaking Arrogance: Obama tramples the separation of powers
“Barack Obama’s disdain for the slow, grinding mechanisms of government has become unmistakable of late….The White House is reportedly weighing two options for executive action similar in kind to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that was implemented — also by executive fiat, via memorandum — in 2012. One option would grant temporary legal status to illegal-immigrant parents of U.S. citizens, authorizing them to remain in the country and to work here. The second option would do the same for illegal-immigrant parents of DACA recipients. These actions could affect anywhere from 3 to 6 million people.
Although the specifics are unknown, any unilateral action of this magnitude and type would be unprecedented…”
The Hammer: Amnesty via Executive Order an Impeachable Offense, But Impeachment Would Still Be Political SuicidePosted: July 29, 2014
If Obama were to carry out his threat to use an executive order to grant amnesty to millions of illegals, Charles Krauthammer expressed this duality:
“Clearly lawless and it would be biggest domestic overreach of a president in memory…an impeachable offense.”
And later added,
“I would be 100 percent against impeachment because it’s political suicide.”
See how that works? The political paradox for opponents of executive overreach: If a president has the majority of the media working to protect him, and his opponents are defenseless because of this historically unique opportunity — virtually immune to impeachment — why wouldn’t he abuse his authority?
From today’s National Review Online: Talk of impeachment is a “concoction of Democrats,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a grander strategy by the White House and its congressional allies, Charles Krauthammer warned.
On Tuesday’s Special Report, he speculated that the Obama administration may be trying to exhaust the idea of impeachment and “softening people up for” when the president uses executive action to grant legal status and work authorization to millions of immigrants in the country illegally…(read more)