Thursday, May 07, 2009

Where's Our Next Ben Bradlee?

Over in the comments in Hot Air--I think it was in one of the articles about Mr. Lauria's accusations that President Obama's administration threatened some of Chrysler's secured credit holders--the question was asked: Where are our next Woodward and Bernstein?

The question had been on my mind as well. Where is the next generation of investigative reporters (not journalists) eager to expose the abuse of power? However, I think that might be the wrong question. The reporters might be there but their editors are not publishing their questions.

Woodward and Bernstein wouldn't have had an inch of copy in the Washington Post if Ben Bradlee hadn't given it to them.

And Mr. Bradlee had to justify his decision to Mrs. Katharine Graham, the publisher and owner.

I wonder if the fact that most newspapers are now part of media conglomerates has cooled the ardor of publishers and editors to go after stories that buck the current, politically correct meme-du-jour? My local paper was part of a family-run enterprise for many years; now it's part of a larger chain. Most of the stories are off the AP wire or other features--so we get stories about "religion in America" that are about Baptists in Arkansas or urban churches in Chicago and nothing about how the local congregations are doing. Wil Hearst is ostensibly the editor of The San Francisco Chronicle; however, most of the stories in the Chron are also newswire stories. Is Mr. Hearst going to gamble his family's multimillion dollar media empire to see if the Emperor has no clothes?

No--Mr. Hearst reports to a Board of Directors, who are very, very nervous about the bottom line.

Extraordinary courage will be needed to blow the cover off President Obama and his administration. Perhaps this is a job for the "New Media" who are not beholden to a publishing/media empire