The More Things Change

Journalism is probably the slowest-moving, most tradition-bound profession in America. It refuses to budge until it is shoved into the future by some irresistible external force.


“Those guys on the plane,” said [Brit] Hume, “claim that they’re trying to be objective. They shouldn’t try to be objective, they should try to be honest. And they’re not being honest. Their so-called objectivity is just a guise for superficiality. They report what one candidate said, then they go and report what the other candidate said with equal credibility. They never get around to finding out if the guy is telling the truth. They just pass the speeches along without trying to confirm the substance of what the candidates are saying. What they pass off as objectivity is just a mindless kind of neutrality.”

Timothy Crouse, Boys on the Bus, 1972, which, if your pocket calculator is out of reach, is almost four decades ago.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.

1 Comment

  1. Yeah, well grandma quit ready papers in favor of tv news because papers were “full of lies”, which may have seemed to be the case when you compare Walter Winchell to Walter Cronkite, so that is a super old argument, papers have just run out of a good revenue stream model as Internet-based ads take over.

    But…I did almost do a spit take when I saw the originator of that quote. Really, Brit Hume complaining about objectivity, honesty, and checking out the story, considering the professional company he is now keeping, is a pretty funny.

    I think looking at Hume’s quote, and the present day, both where he is at, and where op/ed is today, I would say that today, there is no agreement on facts.

    He talks about investigating to see if the guy is telling the truth and confirm what they say. You could do that today, but you would get no agreement on the conclusions.