There's no news like old news

A piece in Newsnight has moved me to comment...

Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and Me: The Full Story!

When I were a lad, on a student exchange scheme in a wee town in Texas, the local paper masthead had a line that struck a chord then, and still does now:

'Hew close to the line; let the chips fall where they may'.

And, being a small town, I was subsequently privileged to meet and chat with the editor.

Charming chap, but despite the relative lack of news 'excitement' around his patch, ruthlessly devoted to the whole 'who, what, why, when..' thing and... especially... confirming the story.

Don't think he'd have thought much of a news environment, especially in the MSM where, to use Jon Humphry's words, 'stars' like him are there to 'interpret' what's happened for us.

I presume that includes adding, or subtracting something between what has actually happened, and what we need to know about. Often that's necessary to make it a well-structured story. But often it can be a�little extra 'value' according to personal taste or corporate dictat, and go too far for my comfort.

And especially, of late, with the uncritical throughput of facts where provenance gives way to speed.

'It may not be true, but we were told it first' may be good enough for ratings, and indeed subsequent deniablity, but really isn't responsible reporting any more, is it?

I wonder what Bob and Carl think of the MSM they, amongst others, inspired to the standard it is today?

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