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‘High-End Journalism Is Dying in America’

Posted on May 7, 2009
AP photo / Haraz N. Ghanbari

Warning of the potential dangers of citizen journalism while correcting misconceptions on the grand old days of the “family-owned” newspaper model, David Simon, creator of HBO’s “The Wire” and a former reporter at the Baltimore Sun, testified Wednesday at a Senate hearing on the future of journalism.

“High-end journalism can and should bite any hand that tries to feed it, and it should bite a governing hand most viciously,” Simon told senators.

Democracy Now!


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By diamond, May 9, 2009 at 12:48 am Link to this comment

Investigative journalism? What’s that? It’s been so long since I’ve seen any such thing that I’m having trouble remembering what it is. Journalists are now more afraid than ever to investigate anything for fear of where it might lead. If Specialist Joseph Darby hadn’t confronted Charles Graner and asked him to explain the images of torture and sexual sadism on his photo disk and then put the photos on the internet how many ‘high end’ journalists do you think would have fallen all over themselves to run with this story? None, my friends. Not a single one. Too gutless and too corrupt. This torture was going on for years. Where was the investigative journalism? The lies that led to the invasion of Iraq? No investigative journalism. The anthrax letters? No investigative journalism. The swine flu conjob? No investigative journalism. The outright fraud that went on in Iraq where the no-audit Jerry Bremmer flew free with his suitcases of money? No investigative journalism. The crime and corruption on Wall Street and the stock market and the hedge funds and the derivatives and the mindless greed that drove it all? No investigative journalism. The papers should have understood the old saying ‘Use it or lose it’ they didn’t and they have. There’s a reason there are no dinosaurs any more: things changed and they didn’t adapt.

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By Volma, May 8, 2009 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

Am I suppose to believe that Newspapers are not influenced by the ownership, policies of what is allowed to print, write about, research…That this, High End Journalism, is all about keeping America free and informed, high ideals, truth telling???? Where are these “Professional keepers of Democracy” going to do when there are no jobs left at the “Inn”....There will be plenty of jobs in the fields and orchards left open for Americans now that we are finally doing something about those pesky illegal migrant farm workers, who work hard long hours to pick those veges…McDonald’s do not have the high turnover that they did have, but there is always hope that a former journalist may find work there…Don’t even think about getting work at one of the giant book outlet’s, they are full of men and women with professional degree’s in the sciences who are out of work…Maybe if high end journalism would actually influence and enlighten US citizens about what is really going on, while it’s occurring they may have prevented loosing their own chosen professions, and maybe could actually make a living in journalism…Who is going to have the money to pay for the “High End” Journalism, when for the majority of American’s the financial strain is just beginning to tighten their already in debt financial realities..It’s only going down hill from here, but for years I have read nothing but propaganda and lies in the High End News Journal, papers…Journalism is now reaping it’s own Karma for selling out, churning out propaganda and lies for so long, that no one believes that there really is integrity and truth in News anyway…I could care less, and you know I couldn’t afford, nor would I pay for the misinformation, superficial, missing the point, dancing in circle no news news, be it liberal or conservative…

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By Jeff Waggoner, May 8, 2009 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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“High-end journalism” never existed.  It was only journalism that served the interests of the plutocracy, regardless of what David Simon suggests. It is sublimely ironic that the creator of “The Wire,” actually believes that “high end journalism” isn’t exempt from corruption. Big city journalism’s betrayal of the public interest is obvious in its failure to honestly report about WMD, the financial meltdown or the decimation of the middle class.

There were few exceptions at the big institutions, David Cay Johnston, was one.  But the truly courageous journalists today, such as Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman, don’t work for powerful institutions like The Washington Post or The New York Times.  And, I for one, am convinced that the sole purpose of “high end journalism,” such as that practiced at The Times or The Post is simply to “comfort the comfortable.”

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By ardee, May 7, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

I applaud the words of David Simon, especially the point that this internet of ours is not a substitute for (investigative) journalism. I urge everyone to click on that video and listen to him with great attention.

I would add that the comments of Mr. Smoliar are well worth the time, click on that link, he has something to say:

“What Simon may have overlooked, however, is the tight coupling between the responsibilities of professional journalism and what I have called “the old-fashioned idea of the newspaper as a public trust.” I doubt that public trust can be restored by anything as simple as a new economic model. Put another way, the problem is not one of the economics of commerce but of the broader scope of the political economy of our country. If we are to restore the virtues of professionalism (whether in journalism or any other trade), then those virtues will have to be reinforced by a reformed sense of value. This remains the crux of the problem of economic recovery, and it may be too much to ask that an improvement of the quality of our economy be coupled with a corresponding improvement in the quality of our work practices (not to mention compensation for that latter quality).”

Thank you Mr. Smoliar.

Many may not agree with my contention that the death of the free press, which is exactly what is occurring as newspapers become sales tools and very little else, is a purposive event and not a response to a failing economy, but that is precisely what I believe.

Is democracy even possible in a post free press era?

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By Stephen Smoliar, May 7, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

With all due respect to Ms. Goodman, the problem of “high end journalism” deserves to be analyzed in readable text.  I have prepared a blog post on this topic at:

It provides hyperlinks for all of the testimony, excerpts from Simon’s testimony, and some harmless fun at the expense of the Internet evangelists!

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