Today's brutal takedown of career hack Jonathan Karl by Charles P. Pierce over at Esquire.com is a must read.
Long ago, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur of Ohio once told me that she thought my craft went bad when it became the province almost exclusively of the over-educated, that it had professionalized itself out of its traditional role, that she wished there were a few more people practicing journalism who'd first worked on a loading dock, or in a mine, the way people used to come to the job. Here, with Karl, we apparently have a perfect product of the well-financed and staggeringly successful network of conservative institutions and programs launched more than 40 years ago by The Powell Memo. Assuming the FAIR report is accurate, then Jonathan Karl was not trained as a journalist, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce journalists. It produces partisan warriors. He was not trained as a reporter, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce reporters. It produces propagandists. He was not trained as a newsman, because the Collegiate Network doesn't produce newsmen. It produces hacks.A hat tip to @JohnSunununu for this catch from Esquire.com
This is, of course, indelicate for someone in my business to say but, at every level of his steady rise in the business, some executive should have looked at Karl's resume, seen The Collegiate Network there, and then shitcanned the thing before the interview process even began. Are there conservatives who are good reporters? Absolutely. But all the ones that I know came up the same way I did, and none of them came up through the coddled terrariums of the activist Right. They learned their craft. They were not trained to be spies in the camp of the enemy. They were not trained to be moles. And every damn one of them would have checked those phony e-mails before throwing them out to the public, and most of them wouldn't have fallen for them, because they are journalists, reporters, and newsmen. They are not partisan warriors, propagandists, or hacks. If Jonathan Karl doesn't like being called a hack, then he should stop being a hack. Here's one way to do it.
Blow the source who lied to you and, therefore, lied to us.
Do that. Or be a hack.
There's no third alternative.
Now, I've always thought that the worst thing for a journalist is when that journalists mishaps become the story, but for Jon Karl to just shrug his shoulders like "My bad" and then pretend that the lie he helped spread which is central to this story should be ignored while the story continues to be reported on is the height of journalistic malfeasance. Which is why I shall now think of the hapless journalist Kent Brockman whenever I think of Jonathan Karl. Because if Jon Karl wants to behave like a cartoonish caricature of a hack journalist I am happy to agree with him.
Slightly more below the fold
There's really nothing else to add here, I think Charles Pierce nails it. Karl can either himself be used like a tool by a partisan source who lied to him and all of us (((*cough*Coburn*cough*cough))) or Karl can fight for his honesty and integrity and burn the source that lied to him and making him look like a tool.
And that goes for the company that employs Jon Karl too. America expects this crap from Fox and the other 2 big cable networks, but ABC runs the risk of losing credibility if Jon Karl is just an open tool for partisan lies. If Karl insists on being a hack and ABC continues to employ him, what does that say about ABC?
So cheers to Charles Pierce at Esquire for this brutal and necessary takedown of Jonathan Karl. Don't want to be called a hack? There's an easy way to fix that.
Peace and love to all