Pressing a point

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2 Responses

  1. Ken Rhodes says:

    I’m totally confused.

    “[Kimmelman's] efforts illustrate the increasingly porous boundary between reporting and advocacy, even in the mainstream media.”

    But earlier, Kimmelman was identified as a “critic,” not as a “reporter.” Don’t we hire “critics” to tell us their opinions?

    What I red here in your report was that Kimmelman didn’t take the easy (lazy) route of merely stating his opinion. A critic is supposed to be an expert in a subject area, but that doesn’t usually mean he is omniscient in that area. So Kimmelman went to the trouble to investigate whether the proposed alternative was possible, whether such an approach would/could be supported by the public and by the University, and whether it would be physically and financially feasible.

    We should be so lucky that critics would do such a thorough investigation before they attempt to foist their personal ideas on us as “expertise.” If I could disagree with your sentence “somewhere along the way” any more strongly, it would have to be in all capital letters.

  2. Paul Horwitz says:

    I’m afraid I’m largely with Orin on this one. Kimmelman is a critic, not a reporter. You are right that the mid-20th-century standard of avoiding advocacy by professional reporters is increasingly being departed from, especially but not exclusively online. But Kimmelman does not fall in that category–indeed, he is and always has been a columnist as much as a straight, wait-for-the-event-and-review-it critic–so he can’t really be taken as evidence for or against the general trend. Moreover, as influential and seemingly set-in-stone as that mid-century model is, it only really came into being in the late 19th century and only really flowered in the mid-20th century. The questions you raise about the Press Clause are fine and perfectly perceptive, and I look forward to being at the Georgia conference to hear and share some views about them. But if the Press Clause protects the “press” at all, and I think it should and/or does, and if it does so at least in part as a matter of history, then surely we should recognize that open advocacy in the press has a much longer tradition than studied neutrality (again, by reporters, not those who are paid by the press to have and advance their own views).