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BuzzFeed, Acosta, and the Non-Existence of Journalism


DP Veteran
Dec 2, 2015
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California Caliphate
Political Leaning

On Thursday — just before BuzzFeed was revealed to be a millennial version of Orwell's Ministry of Truth — the redoubtable Jim Acosta accused Sebastian Gorka of not being "a journalist" when the CNN fave spied the Trump supporter hanging around a White House briefing.

In this instance, both were right. About Acosta, the less said the better. But Gorka is definitely not a journalist (doubt he ever claimed to be). Neither, for that matter, is Acosta.

There's a simple reason: nobody is. Journalism, as a profession, does not exist. We know generally or specifically what qualifies one to be a cardiologist or an astrophysicist or even, heaven help us, a lawyer. But a journalist?

What possible credential makes one a journalist? A degree from the Columbia School of Journalism? Well, that proves your parents can afford a hundred grand. Either that or you're heavily in debt. Anyone can be a journalist. All you have to do is start typing.

It is high time for a grand fight over the legal definition of "journalist" so there can be threshold where a writer can claim his sources are protected. AFAIK today, there is no such protection. An ethical journalist must just go to jail like the NY Times reporter Judith Miller for not revealing sources. NY Times. I get it. What about Buzzfeed? Or Wired Magazine. Or Mad Magazine. Even the Onion?

It seems there is no such thing as a protected journalist. If Mueller wants he can box up anyone he thinks is a leaker until they talk or a judge springs them. The NY Times, has paper, plant, equipment, and juice. Buzzfeed has a website, weak juice, and a black eye. If you can't or won't name your source, who can believe you unless they agree with you already?

I can see a fight developing here, trying to settle a question that has no answer in a free society.
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