Saturday, June 20, 2009

Source Criticism

"The standards of this criticism alter to the degree that historiography approaches journalism." (Martin Heidegger)

If it is not yet clear to you that journalism, i.e., the pursuit of "the daily news", is a ridiculous activity, consider the following headline in a major left-liberal Danish newspaper.


The US has equiped Hawaii with a missile shield to counter North Korea's threats to attack on the American day of independence

Now, that's perhaps just vague enough to pass. But the article goes on to say that the word on the street is that

Secretatry of Defense Robert Gates has announced that the US is ready if North Korea makes good on its threat to send missiles against Hawaii.

This happened after rumours that North Korea is considering an attack on the US's western Pacific state on [Independence Day], July 4. (Politiken, 20.6.09, Sec. 1, page 10)

This sort of journalistic (and editorial) tone-deafness should confirm anyone's distate for the press. Journalists are content to describe world events as though they were watching a movie. In this case (involving, it appears, the diplomatic sophistication of two journalists and the editor of the International section) were somehow able to convert their reading of (I'm guessing) a few internet sources or newswires about the wholly abstract "threat" implied by a missile test and the wholly hypothetical act of "defending" oneself against it with a test of one's own, into an impending "attack" on America. This plan to launch an attack, then, (so think the journalists) can be casually proposed in public and reported in the news. How exciting!

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