Sunday, June 21, 2009

Bail out journalists, says Rosa Brooks

Los Angeles Times editorial staff tests new bailout plan.

This column reads like a parody of the leftist, soft-totalitarian mentality. But it is from the Los Angeles Times, and the LAT doesn't joke about such things. It can't afford to.

Rosa Brooks is a sometime columnist for the paper, but you are to understand that she is of a higher class than your common journalist. She explains:
This will be my last column for the L.A. Times. After four years, I'll soon be starting a stint at the Pentagon as an advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for policy. Some might say I have a "new job," but because I'll be escaping a dying industry -- and your tax dollars will shortly be paying my salary -- I prefer to think of it as my personal government bailout.
If I happened to be leaving for a nest lined with IRS-suctioned dollars, I don't think I'd be quite so quick to wave it like a flag in front of my readers. Above all, I doubt that I would chortle about my "personal government bailout." Then again, I lack her qualifications. Her personal bailout is hers by right, as is her taxpayer-supported underpolicymaking position. After all, as her bio note tells us, she is
... a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Brooks taught at the University of Virginia and at Yale. She has also served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of State, a consultant for Human Rights Watch, a board member of Amnesty International USA, a fellow of the Kennedy School of Government's Carr Center, a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law. Her government and NGO work has involved extensive travel and field research in countries ranging from Iraq and Kosovo to Indonesia and Sierra Leone.
Can't get much more Liberal Establishment than that. Other than membership in CAIR, what better qualifications could anyone have for advising on defense? As she puts it, "At this moment in history, I can't imagine anything more rewarding than being part of the new team that's shaping U.S. policy." There can be no doubt she will be well rewarded by the taxpayers.

But our Ms. Brooks has a sense of
noblesse oblige, and don't you forget it. Because she has the nobility, and you (assuming you are one of those tiresome drudges who works for the government's living) have the obligation. In a fine burst of conscience, she reminds you of your duty to bail out her less privileged colleagues back at the LAT.
It's time for a government bailout of journalism. If we're willing to use taxpayer money to build roads, pay teachers and maintain a military; if we're willing to bail out banks and insurance companies and failing automakers, we should be willing to part with some public funds to keep journalism alive too. ... If the thought of government subsidization of journalism seems novel, it shouldn't. Most other democracies provide far more direct government support for public media than the U.S. does (Canada spends 16 times as much per capita; Britain spends 60 times as much).
Yes, in quasi-socialist countries such as Canada and Britain, they subsidize the media to a pretty tune. A good thing, too; we all know how the Canadian Broadcasting Company and the BBC range freely through the full spectrum of political and social opinion, giving all sides a chance to offer their views in the marketplace of ideas. Funny old thing how all the thought merchants who express their fiercely independent positions via the CBC and BBC have no time for anything but views that are stress-tested to be politically correct.
Years of foolish policies have left us with a choice: We can bail out journalism, using tax dollars and granting licenses in ways that encourage robust and independent reporting and commentary, or we can watch, wringing our hands, as more and more top journalists are laid off or bail out, leaving us with nothing in our newspapers but ads, entertainment features and crossword puzzles.
Foolish policies and no mistake. It's hard to credit that the United States has, on the whole, thrived for well past two centuries with newspapers having to attract readers by offering something worth their money and time. Thank our lucky stars we have such beacons of robust, independent reporting as the LAT, WaPo, and New York Times.

A lass -- excuse me, I mean alas (what could I have been thinking of?), vast numbers of irresponsible people have learned to doubt the all-knowing wisdom of these churches and their "top journalist" priesthood. Barack, as long as you're up, would you get them a bailout?

Nothing like having your paycheck come from the government to ensure fearless, hard hitting reporting on issues like, oh, the government. And the government can never have too many ways to get its message out to the people.


zazie said...

just great!Isn't this lass slightly bitchy?
Have you any idea of the way Le Monde, Libération, l'Observateur , le Figaro, etc....are subsidised on taxpayers' money ? I guess it is the same all over the world ; how long ago did Figaro say that "sans la liberté de blamer, il n'est point d'éloge flatteur"? 'I leave it to you to translate)
Is there such a word as "shamelessness"? If so, it does apply to that woman.

Terry Morris said...

I need a bailout too. Pick your reason.

Rick Darby said...


Okay, I admit I had to look it up. Good quote, from Beaumarchais, The Marriage of Figaro: "Without the freedom to criticize, there is no true praise."

Is blamer still used in French? I've never read or heard it. Nor eloge. Would a French person not quoting an 18th c. writer express the same thought in these words today?


Don't worry, the bailout will get around to us eventually. After we've been cleaned out, our retirement funds transferred into government Green Bonds (Green stamps?), and our dwellings inspected for energy efficiency, the State will give us a few coins as a stimulus.

zazie said...

Just back from Italy (lovely opera performance in Torino), I read your question and wonder : what sort of French "writers" or "speakers" do you read or listen to ? We still use such words as "blamer" or "éloge", and their lexical families ; for instance, I might easily say : "je ne peux pas blamer les patriotes français de ne pas être très élogieux envers Sarkozy" ; everybody would understand me, even those who would not approve my words.
At school, a pupil who is too lazy, or misbehaves, will receive "un blâme" at the end of term.. whereas a good and polite pupil will receive "un éloge du conseil de classe".
So, these words are well and alive ; unfortunately, for most people they have lost the strong meaning they had under Beaumarchais ' pen.