The pros and cons of having an opinion as a journalist

Politics: some / Politics: none. Two ways to excel in political journalism. Neither dominates.:

“None” journalists have certain advantages over their “some” colleagues, but the reverse is also true. If you want to appear equally sympathetic to all potential sources, politics: none is the way to go. If you want to avoid pissing off the maximum number of users, politics: none gets it done. (This has commercial implications. They are obvious.) But: if you’re persuaded that transparency is the better route to trust, politics: some is the better choice. And if you want to attract sources who themselves have a political commitment or have come to a conclusion about matters contested within the political community, being open about your politics can be an advantage. That is the lesson that Glenn Greenwald has been teaching the profession of journalism for the last week. Edward Snowden went to him because of his commitments. This has implications for reporters committed to the “no commitments” style.

The key is to not go too far in either direction.

Being detached and objective is fine, but you don’t want to be so removed from the reality of what you’re reporting on that you go into what Paul Krugman calls “shape of planet blogging” – being so committed to reporting both sides of a story that you’re willing to spread points of view that are wrong or outright lies.

On the other end of the spectrum, don’t be Fox News or MSNBC.

Intelligentsia = Progress

The major problem the human race faces when looking to make progress is not that said progress is impossible or even inherently difficult to accomplish, it’s that an overwhelming majority of the population is totally incompetent, impotent, and useless, and has no will to improve.

Any progress the human race actually does manage to make in the sciences, high technology, domestic and foreign policy, environmental protection, etc. are all forced through by people who are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest in intelligence, compassion, foresight, and just about everything else that doesn’t involve sitting on their asses watching Real Housewives 8 hours a day, cramming kilograms of low-nutrient pseudo-meat and liters of high fructose corn syrup down their gullets.

Get it together and make this life worthwhile. We aren’t spending vast amounts of resources to keep you alive so you can spend 80 years being a culturally and morally bankrupt amorphous sack of fat-water without contributing anything meaningful.