Orson Scott Card on our Dishonest, Dishonorable Media

Like all reasonable Americans, Democrat Orson Scott Card is not pleased with the state of journalism our country. His tone reveals a sense of betrayal everyone should be feeling right now. Here are some excerpts from his open letter to “almost every local daily paper in America” (found via what if?):

Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper.

But right now, you are consenting to or actively promoting a big fat lie — that the housing crisis should somehow be blamed on Bush, McCain, and the Republicans. You have trained the American people to blame everything bad — even bad weather — on Bush, and they are responding as you have taught them to.

If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.

Because that’s what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don’t like the probable consequences. That’s what honesty means. That’s how trust is earned.

Card’s only mistake is believing that the people to whom he directs his letter care about honor and honesty, that they value ethics and truth. But this election season has made clear that there won’t be any light bulb moments in newsrooms across America. These people have already decided: epiphany, thy name is Obama.

He continues:

Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.

Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards’s own adultery for many months.

So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?

Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?

I appreciate Card’s optimism in reaching out to these “journalists,” and applaud his attempt to call them out on their despicable betrayal of Americans’ trust. But these rhetorical questions won’t shame members of the media into doing right by their readers. It is the American people – Joe the plumber and Tito the construction worker and Jenn the blogger – and not the media elite who will ultimately shape the outcome of the election.

We have reached a Dickensian moment in American history, the age of foolishness in journalism and the age of wisdom among patriotic citizens. So let the mainstream American media plummet into the worst of times; it is at the polls, and not in the newspapers, that we will ensure the best of times.


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