I aimed to be in bed early, alas reading the latest column by Michael Laws entitled Journalists can’t handle the truth, compelled me to continue to fight Morpheus and write a terse riposte. Laws opinion piece can be found here.
First of all I have to point out that even if Michael Laws is of average intelligence, he is significantly challenged in the business of cobbling together a clear argument. How someone so spectacularly stupid can be a featured columnist for the Sunday Star-Times vindicates my low opinion of both. He begins with a whine about how we as voters do not have faith in the leaders we elect. He says this is “One of the great dichotomies of democracy”. Well, to begin with it is not a dichotomy its a paradox. As is his assumption that we avidly consume the news while maintaining a grudge against the media. Again this is a vague paradox, not a dichotomy.
The central fallacy of Laws’s snotty piece is his haughty pronouncement that the job of journalists is to “… relay the facts and let us make up our own minds”. Journalists are not courtroom stenographers, and no piece of information in public life can reach the ears (or eyes) of the humble voter without some degree of spin and prior interpretation. It is simply erroneous to cry havoc over a journalist seizing upon a piece of data and using it as part of an argument. In the squalid world of Laws’s feeble imagination there would be nothing readable, and every tedious article of mindless fact relay would be an insult to most of the public who posses the fortitude to sort through fact and opinion, reaching conclusions on their own anyway.
Its very surprising that two terms as an MP, a smattering of years as an incompetent mayor, and his constant vitriolic mouthing off on radio has left Michael Laws with no appreciation of the role of the media. As with anyone who gets their botox in a clump over an incidence of hypocrisy, Laws forgets that everyone is hypocritical, and we all manage to maintain two sets of books while continuing to operate without the obvious effects of cognitive dissonance.
As for Laws clumsy attempt at pumping up his deflated article by referencing George Orwell’s Animal Farm, see if you, dear reader can make heads or tails of it, I cannot see his point. It is outrageous to me that he goes after journalism in this half-baked fashion, since I (or anyone else) could defend it with ease if his attack was more coherent. Just don’t dare mischaracterise the profession, as it is one I hope to join it just pisses me off.