Robert Thomson, a Journalist’s Journalist, Explains Why a Lot of Journalists Ought to be Spanked


Since becoming a copyboy back home in Australia at 18, journalism is the only life Robert Thomson has ever known—and he has made a brilliant career of it as a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times, editor of the Financial Times, editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal, and now chief executive officer of News Corp, the newspaper company, built by Rupert Murdoch, that owns more than 150 titles.

When I interviewed him for Uncommon Knowledge, I tried to get Robert going on journalism-as-a-noble profession.

He wouldn’t have it.

Herewith, Robert Thomson on what’s wrong with journalists.

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  1. The King Prawn Member
    The King Prawn

    Or there’s this…


    • #1
  2. user_86050 Member

    No no …

    Truth is sacred. When journalists are vehicles of the truth (and they occupy a unique position in society for just that purpose), they bask in the respect that should properly go to truth. When a journalist tells the truth, it’s the truth that deserves respect.

    However, some journalists confuse the two. Instead of being virtuous for telling the truth, some think that journalism is the virtue (or that they are). Some journalists act as if you should believe what they say, not because it’s true, but because they say it. I sniff a whiff of this when journalists prize people for being “informed,” as if the rest of us receive some sort of grace for hearing what journalists tell us.

    In the priesthood, they have to frequently remind themselves that people come to church to hear Christ, not the priest who conveys Him. The same applies to journalism. People respect journalists because they convey the truth, not because journalists have any superior dignity themselves.

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  3. D.C. McAllister Member
    D.C. McAllister

    KC– I agree.  I would add that most journalists today have an education based on moral relativity. If you believe truth is relative as most of them do, truth cannot be their goal. All

    they have left is power. Their purpose therefore is to advance their own power or the power of another with whom they are aligned. This is why journalism today is a matter of propaganda not truth.

    • #3
  4. user_1938 Member

    Part of the problem is that it pays for journalists to hobnob with the rich and powerful so that they can keep informed and solicit interviews. And it pays for the rich and powerful to at least pretend to be friends with journalists. How many people value truth more than friends? How many value truth more than prestige, wealth and influence?

    Ethics classes impart knowledge, not virtue. Whatever is taught in journalism school, nothing about journalism makes one a good person immune to the temptations which plague everybody else.

    • #4
  5. Kay of MT Member
    Kay of MT

    Ah Peter, you were very easy to lip read, enunciating your words clearly and I understood everything you said. I wasn’t as impressed with Thomson. I understood about 1/8th of his words which were out of context, have no idea what he was talking about except you told us. Am I the only person on Ricochet with hearing problems? Or am I the only one that carps about it? Even the deaf would like to know what is going on in the world.

    • #5

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