L.A. Times Editor John Carroll, on a roll in the industry after picking up five Pulitzers this year and a big award from his fellow editors, gave a lecture Thursday at the University of Oregon titled "The Wolf in Reporter's Clothing: The Rise of Pseudo-Journalism in America." A senior reporter-turned-editor at the paper helped craft the speech, which singled out Fox News as a major offender.
Here are some passages from a story that ran Friday in the UO student newspaper, the Daily Emerald.
The media industry has been infested by the rise of pseudo-journalists who go against journalism's long tradition to serve the public with accurate information, Los Angeles Times Editor John S. Carroll told a packed room in the Gerlinger Lounge on Thursday...
"All over the country there are offices that look like newsrooms and there are people in those offices that look for all the world just like journalists, but they are not practicing journalism," he said. "They regard the audience with a cold cynicism. They are practicing something I call a pseudo-journalism, and they view their audience as something to be manipulated."
In a scathing critique of Fox News and some talk show hosts, such as Bill O'Reilly, Carroll said they were a "different breed of journalists" who misled their audience while claiming to inform them. He said they did not fit into the long legacy of journalists who got their facts right and respected and cared for their audiences.
Carroll cited a study released last year that showed Americans had three main misconceptions about Iraq: That weapons of mass destruction had been found, a connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq had been demonstrated and that the world approved of U.S intervention in Iraq. He said 80 percent of people who primarily got their news from Fox believed at least one of the misconceptions. He said the figure was more than 57 percentage points higher than people who get their news from public news broadcasting.
"How in the world could Fox have left its listeners so deeply in the dark?" Carroll asked.
Carroll had a few words of advise for student journalists; he told them to pick their boss carefully.
"Don't be lured by the money or the big name of the employer," he said, adding that journalists should not allow their integrity to be compromised by unscrupulous employers.
"Don't be a piano player in a whorehouse," he said.
* Updates: Reaction has been swift on the right, fed in part by a link on the Drudge Report picked up (unattributed) from here. A sampling of blogs: Oh, That Liberal Media, A View From the Right, Wizbang.
Previously on L.A. Observed: