Morely Safer is ‘Appalled’ By New Media

Last month, broadcast TV lifer Morely Safer of CBS’s 60 Minutes fame appeared on CSPAN and pronounced himself “appalled” by the denizens of the new media.

Citizen journalists aren’t trained well enough to be trusted as a source of news, Safer declared to CSPAN’s Brian Lamb on Sept. 13.

In fact, he’s downright “appalled” by the whole idea of Internet journalism and seems to wish it would all just go away. We need to leave the “reporting” to him and his professional class of “real” journalists, Safer sonorously declared.

The question about citizen journalism was put to Safer after host Lamb showed the aged newsman a clip of former Daily Caller correspondent Michelle Fields. On the clip, Fields was seen celebrating the advent of the new media.

Safer, a Canadian, admitted that he “sounds like a Neanderthal” with his hatred of citizen journalism — which, he said, he’d trust as much as he’d trust “a citizen surgeon” — nonetheless he rejects the idea that mere citizens can be a legitimate source of news reporting.

Safer’s arrogance, here, is rich. First of all, to equate journalism to the art and decades of training it takes to make a surgeon is a hilarious conceit. But to imagine that only his professional class should be considered “real” journalists is wholly ignorant of most of the true history of journalism in America. Few of the most famous journalists of history had what Safer would feel is the “proper” training to become journalists. In fact, journalism schools are a rather new invention, relatively speaking, and may soon be a curriculum of the past if the trend of eliminating such programs continues in our universities.

Of course, Safer is correct that the job of an editor is important whether for all those “real journalists” or otherwise. But having an editor is no guarantee that an end product will be “real reporting,” either. Just ask Safer’s colleague, Dan Rather!

But really, all one needs for good journalism is a competent writer and a dedication to the truth. Like anything, there are skills the job requires and certainly not everybody has those skills. But Safer’s contention that only his approved class of “real journalists” should be allowed to deliver the news is simply arrogance beyond belief.

In fact, one reason his preferred system was built was to skew the “news” in a particular political direction. Long ago Safer’s beloved profession went from being a straight forward reporting of the news to an effort at creating the news. The tightly controlled — and now disappearing – media establishment Safer is hanging onto was made to screen out any opposing ideas just as much as it was to professionalize the end product.

Of course, Safer’s whole mien is self-serving. He was once one of those “real reporters” that was the gatekeeper of all that is “news.” Now his monopoly has been shattered and his control of the media no longer a lock. It is natural to decry the loss of such supreme power. Who wouldn’t long for the good old days in such a situation?

In the end, he may be more like a dinosaur than a Neanderthal.

Transcript

Brian Lamb: Reaction, sir.

Morley Safer: Appalled. I’m appalled! I mean I don’t know quite if she thinks this is a good idea? Uh…

Lamb: Uh, no, she does.

Safer: She does think it’s a good idea.

Lamb: Yeah

Safer: I think it’s a dreadful idea. I mean, journalism, good journalism, good reporting must work within the constraints of great editing. It has to.

I got in trouble a couple of years ago. I was making a speech, I got some award in Canada, and I was talking about the so-called citizen journalism. And I said I would trust citizen journalism as much as I would trust a citizen surgeon.

You need to work within discipline, within certain disciplines. And, uh, I think the Matt Drudges and these and many of these others give the real thing a very bad name. Because now everybody’s on the Internet. I mean, and, one of the problems I have with the Internet in terms of reading… everything looks as valid as The New York Times. Whether it’s the typeface, the way its been set up. So, whether you’re reading some, somebody who, you know, believes aliens are out to get him, or reading something from the oped pages of The New York Times. It all has the same look, the same, makes the same visual sense. And, um, I know I’m sounding like a Neanderthal when I say this, but, uh, I’m just appalled by half the stuff that I see on the Internet.

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Posted by on October 10, 2012.
Filed under Asshats, corruption, Culture Of Corruption, Democrats, Dumbasses, Liberals, Media, Media Whores.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events.He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com"The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • herddog505

    I know I’m sounding like a Neanderthal when I say this, but, uh, I’m just appalled by half the stuff that I see on the Internet.

    That’s OK, Morely: many of us are just appalled by AT LEAST half the stuff we see (or not) in our newspapers on and news programs.

  • GarandFan

    “Safer is correct that the job of an editor is important whether for all those “real journalists” or otherwise.”

    Dan Rather. Bill Keller.

    As for his being “appalled”, does that also apply to the leg humping he sees in the MSM? I didn’t see any mention of that.

  • 914

    Safer is appalled because the monopoly on manufactured “news” is over. Liberal control freaks are so damn arrogant. Including the one’s in the White House..

    • SteveCrickmore075

      914, always the unvarnished truth from you. I suppose you still believe like Doug Johnson the author of this post, that liberals unjustifably are ruining the reputation of your hero Lance Armstrong, or as you put a few weeks ago that Lance “won fair and square.. enough already”.

      • 914

        Good job staying on topic as usual.

      • Jwb10001

        Oh look a kitty…

  • jim_m

    I mean, journalism, good journalism, good reporting must work within the constraints of great editing.

    So what Safer is saying is that the MSM has not been doing good journalism for many years now.

    I wonder how this idiot justifies the malpractice of his buddy Dan Rather. Or how he justifies the JournoList. I suppose the JournoList was just another form of editing: Editing the story before it happens.

    • Walter_Cronanty

      JournoList, Dan Rather, Walter Duranty – Yeah, those professional journalists and their editors have a long and glorious history. He should be more appalled by a President who, in the course of covering up his own incompetence, goes around the world apologizing for our 1st Amendment rights.

      • jim_m

        Ah yes, the king of faux journalism Walter Duranty. WHich reminds me that the inaugural Duranty prize was awarded today.

        Inaugural Winners of the Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity:

        First Place: Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Magazine, and Joan Juliet Buck, Author
        “For their stunning achievements in exemplifying the spirit of Walter
        Duranty, for their combined use of gumshoe reporting, headline
        packaging, impeccable timing and fearless dismissal of facts to produce Vogue’s 2011 cover story, “Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert.”

        First Runner Up: Bob Simon, 60 Minutes/CBS

        “For the gross distortions in his CBS’ 60 Minutes episode, “Christians of the Holy Land.”

        Second Runner Up: Andrew Sullivan, The Atlantic
        “For his unsupported accusation, unfounded claims and multiple blog postings asserting that Trig Palin is not Sarah Palin’s own son.”

        Safer needs to surrender his driver’s license and should be kept under watch. He’s clearly no longer lucid and might be a danger to himself.

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  • SeanSorrentino

    Shorter Safer: Hey you kids! Sit down, shut up, and uncritically accept what we tell you. You are too stupid it interpret your own reality.

  • retired.military

    Safer equates to a buggy whip maker decrying the advent of the automobile.

  • Par4Course

    Morley Safer thinks like those who trust government to “protect us” and distrust the free market: There has to be top-down control. We can’t trust citizens to speak the truth or to operate an economy without guidance from elite professionals like him.

  • Wild_Willie

    Drudge is rarely a ‘journalist’. He provides links to stories of the moment.
    When NBC manufactures a gas tank explosion to show how unsafe trucks are, or when they send Arab Muslim people to NASCAR to try to get some bigoted remards, or when they portray the TEA Party as mostly racist, or like the other commenter said, Dan Rather manufactured the news to get GW Bush, this is the old media Safer is standing up for. Yea! WE’ll trust you. NOT. ww

  • Hank_M

    “…..as valid as The New York Times.”

    Now there’s a phrase we don’t hear much anymore.

  • ackwired

    The broadcast journalism that Safer talks about disappeard when the networks made their news departments profit centers. Ratings now have a higher priority than verifying stories and sources. Conflict sells better than truth. Whether you are reading a newspaper, watching TV, or on the internet, you now have to verify everything you take in. There are no journalists left to do it for you.

    • lasveraneras

      “[W] when the networks made their news departments profit centers.” Let me be the first to clue you in that “news reporting” existed… drum roll… before television. History isn’t caveman and then leap directly to post-WWII technology. Stuff happened in between. Your comment must be making William Randolph Hearst roll in his grave… with laughter!

      The use, and abuse, of news to push an agenda is probably as old as the medieval town criers. And, back to Hearst again, you might want to do some research on the Hearst chain of newspapers and the Spanish-American War. Finally, Hearst didn’t give away all his fortune to widows and orphans; take a look at the Hearst Castle of San Simeon to see what a real “profit center” can finance.

      We know leftists “don’t know much about history.” But a little common sense would correct this kind of solopsistic thinking.

      • jim_m

        Bingo! The news lost its way when it shifted from being a profit center to being a propaganda center. News has always been biased but in the past its allegiance was to the almighty dollar and not to a socialist ideology.

        Today the newspapers and networks are shedding readers and viewers at an incredible rate. People look elsewhere for news because the news they get from these sources is poor and rarely, if ever, questions the leftist party line.

        The idea of a professional news corps is a modern invention. the only qualification for a journalist is to be able to investigate and then present a story in an engaging way. Safer represents not the tradition of news reporting, but a recent diversion from the historical norm.

      • ackwired

        Safer was talking about broadcast journalism, and I was addressing my comments to what he had to say. You are welcome to talk about anything you please, and to cast any insults that make you feel superior.

        • Walter_Cronanty

          Safer said: “So, whether you’re reading some, somebody who, you know, believes aliens
          are out to get him, or reading something from the oped pages of The New
          York Times. It all has the same look, the same, makes the same visual
          sense.And, um, I know I’m sounding like a Neanderthal when I say this, but,
          uh, I’m just appalled by half the stuff that I see on the Internet.” How is that “broadcast journalism”? Indeed, there are very few “citizen journalists” on broadcast TV. Lasveraneras’ comment was on point – your reply, not so much.

          • ackwired

            Perhaps. I didn’t see anything in his post that disputed what I had to say, just a bunch of insults because I didn’t cover the entire history of journalism.

      • SCSIwuzzy

        It is a debunked myth that Hearst used his influence to start that war.

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