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Please begin with an informative title:

I spent a decade as the editor of a small weekly newspaper and a previous decade as a reporter at a wide variety of local newspapers starting in the 1980s. I understand that the fourth estate has a sacred role to play in democracy; but honestly the skills and training of the average journalist are not much greater than those of the average Internal Revenue Service worker.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

If you have not had to deal with the IRS you will not understand how bad the service provided by this bloated but essential bureaucracy is. One division does not talk to another and yet often multiple divisions handle the same cases. The same can be said of journalists, who are a string of disconnected bobble-heads trained to repeat what they see in print without questioning it.
Unlike the average reporter, the average Democrat is plagued by training at liberal arts colleges where critical thinking is valued. Republicans on the other hand are home schooled in patriarchal environments and take orders without question. When Mark Sanford ran for Congress in North Carolina he used one simple catch phrase that disposed of all his hypocritical behaviour by saying "I'm imperfect, saved by God's grace, and have conviction on doing something about spending in Washington."
Contrast that to the liberal reaction when the story broke about the IRS targeting conservative groups. The knee jerk was deep and relentless self doubt even though it is clear that the entire episode was staged by the 501(c)(4) political action committees, oh excuse me social welfare associations, to distract those who were planning hearings on the massive political spending by the nonprofit organizations funded by undisclosed donors during the 2012 presidential election.
Journalists have one undying urge and that is to find out anything that no one else knows or remembers and to be the first to break the story. It does not really matter who is affected by the release of the information as long as there are no rules broken in releasing the story. When working as an editor I used this rule of thumb to release the names of juvenile offenders even though I knew that those identities are protected by law. I also chose to publish the details of social  services interactions with police because it was on the public record and I had a right to publish it no matter who might be hurt including both the individuals involved and the public service workers.
The U.S Justice Department seized phone records of Associated Press writers and caused an uproar about freedom of the press. The records were phone numbers, not conversations. The National Security Agency (NSA) has the ability to listen to all conversations and don't have to obtain warrants to do so. Now comes New Yorker magazine that reveals a system to protect sources by using open source encryption codes and secure networks to thwart oversight by law enforcement. Of course we can trust a free press to act responsibly and only publish what the public deserves to know. What could possibly go wrong?

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