The Fourth Estate as a check on the powerful

Post date: Mar 03, 2017 7:26:13 AM

Walter Kirn, Q&A after Jim Rogers Contrarian Lecture, Black Mountain Institute at UNLV, 02/23/17

Political reporters and their subjects are married. Their kids go to school together. They eat in the same restaurants. The fake fights they stage for TV audiences end when the cameras are off. The coziness of the press and the truly powerful is a problem and truly exists. Reporters use people as sources and they protect them instead of telling the truth about them sometimes.

There are fantastic stories people in Washington are holding back to guarantee their sources. One of them would be Ted Kennedy's alcoholism. I attended a party where Kennedy was the drunkest human being I have ever been in the room with. His shirt was off. He was up against a wall and a teenager was licking his hairy self. Walter Kronkite was right there. This guy nearly became president and I very much doubt this alcoholism started several month ago. Now what in the hell is going on there? We weren't being told something that may be crucial. I've seen more relationships that do more to protect the powerful than expose them.

Yes, it's a check and especially in times of crisis, but it's also sometimes a danger. We wouldn't have gone to war in Iraq if a reporter for the New York Times wouldn't have gullibly had a relationship with a government source that was feeding her basically misinformation.