So why was this quote used?


His friends still worry. “I think he’s getting close to a burnout kind of thing,” said Sam Smith, a former Chicago Tribune sports writer, basing this not on anything Mr. Axelrod told him. Mr. Smith added that he speaks only sporadically to his friend these days, mainly about sports, and that Mr. Axelrod has always driven himself exceedingly hard.

That paragraph comes from near the end of an article in the New York Times this morning by Mark Leibovich.The emphasis added is mine. This is why I rant so much about the media, sometimes here and quite frequently on my other site (which I haven’t forgotten, just been busy elsewhere :-)) It just seems to me that this quote was not even needed for the article. Yes, there was am obvious slant to the piece from the start – the author is making the case that David Axelrod is too loyal to the President and therefore not advising him as well as he did on the campaign and that the DC scene is overwhelming him. The case he lays out in the earlier portions also does not rely on much more than third party opinions from outsiders and the classic “some critics say” line. But, the overall theme of being frustrated with how the White House has communicated during their first year is very consistent and polling does back it up and shoot, my own observations back it up too (now there’s an educated source!!) Still, why throw in that burnout line? What’s the point? It’s not even remotely reliable – as is obvious from the disclaimers included with it – so why print it? It didn’t add to the story at all. Since when did it become OK to just use gossip as a source in the New York Times political section? I thought journalistic integrity meant 2 independent sources and direct quotes. Is that just not possible anymore?

I think this is on my mind because last week SportsBoy and I finished this book:

Change-up: Mystery at the World Series Change-up: Mystery at the World Series by John Feinstein

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wonderful story as always that kept SportsBoy and I riveted the entire way. A GREAT look at what journalistic standards are SUPPOSED to be and the ethical questions about WHY a story should be told – or not. I’m thinking there are a lot of current professional media types who should read this as a refresher course on those topics!

And yes, I do think that journalists should read this book! Feinstein’s series follows two young sports writers (both are 13) who end up covering stories at big events – this one is set at the World Series. In each book there has been discussion about what goes into the writing of their stories and what they can and cannot use. There are *standards* that the adults advising them follow and I find myself reading Real Life newspaper/magazine and online articles and wondering when those standards were lost? Because there is no way that Stevie Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson would have used that quote up there!

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