Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On a working definition of “Journalist”

Lest some of us get too far afield, and in hopes of restoring the context of the discussion (at least I had hoped that there might be one) on thinking for oneself.

Billy Blogblather sent the following note:

Just wanted to give Lawrence a heads-up -- be sure to read Maureen Dowd's column today:

And that of Frank Rich:
The second url should have been http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=2&ref=columnists

I read both of these articles and was perplexed. I didn't see how they related to the current subject which I took to be the Ground Zero Mosque. Blogblather didn't explain. He not only didn't do any "original thinking" about these articles, he didn't do any demonstrable thinking at all; which is to say that he "might" have thought about them, but he didn't demonstrate or write about his thoughts. So I took him to be invoking Maureen Dowd and Frank rich as authorities. I took him to be saying, "here, Lawrence, this is my argument against what you have said."
And that reminded me of some things written by the historian Christopher Hill. Now it is true that I didn't define "journalist" precisely, but the context of the discussion did provide such a definition. Frank Rich defined the "right wing journalists."

Here are the people and groups that Frank Rich denigrated:
"Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right — abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats. . . ."
"Laura Ingraham, filling in on “The O’Reilly Factor,”
"the Rupert Murdoch axis of demagoguery"
"The Fox patron saint Sarah Palin."
"Bernie Kerik, who smuggled a Twitter message out of prison to register his rage at the ground zero desecration"
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial darkly cited unspecified “reports” that Park51 has “money coming from Saudi charities or Gulf princes that also fund Wahabi madrassas.”
While Frank Rich didn't supply a list of the journalists he denigrated, by emphasizing Fox News he was at least including their big names. I doubt that I could name them all, but Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck come to mind.
And then, after Blogblather's note, the one cited above, I did provide the following definition: This is quoted from a note I posted on 8-23: "There is no one on Frank Rich's list of Right-Wing demons that I read. So to learn that Blogblather read's their Left Wing equivalent, and offers them up with approval disappointed me . . ."
I continued thinking about this issue, the issue of relying upon less-than-stellar-minds for one’s opinions, and eventually invoked Christopher Hill's The World Turned upside Down, and provided the quote and comment to be found at http://www.lawrencehelm.com/2010/08/christopher-hill-and-thinking-for.html
It is true that I did say in this article, "There is a Biblical concept that would probably occur to any Christian during a discussion of the Nuremberg trials, namely that we shall be held accountable for the teachers we set over us. The blind that follow the blind shall both end up in the ditch. But in this age where many, perhaps most, fear neither God nor man, it is interesting that they do not use their "freedom" to formulate their own philosophy, but instead rely upon Journalists and political hacks who use nothing but their extremely-faulty opinions to influence the ordinary descendants of those who lived during a time in which "The World Turned Upside Down."
And it is also true that I didn't define "Journalists" in this article but intended the Frank Rich definition of the Right Wing Journalists" and further intended their Left-Wing equivalents, whoever they are. Whether the comments made about my article detract from it or provide examples of what I have argued against, I will leave up to the people who have read it.

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