Sunday, March 15, 2009

Now let's see Jon Stewart interview Peter Gammons.

Maybe it's because I work in sports, watch sports in my free time and am generally obsessed with sports, but I couldn't help but see Jon Stewart's interview of CNBC's Jim Cramer through the lens of steroids in baseball. Financial journalists like Cramer were complicit in creating the financial disaster by intentionally disregarding information about criminal activities that would have been zapped like mildew in direct sunlight if only journos hadn't blocked the sun with their own largesse. Similarly, though on a much smaller and far less criminal scale, journalists like Peter Gammons blocked out the steroid story in baseball because they were unwilling to ask the tough questions and report the hard news.

As reporters, both Cramer and Gammons alike are obligated to report the difficult stories, not just the ones that their networks or newspapers can sell. Just like questions about Bear Stearns leveraging at 30-to-1 are legitimate, so are questions about Brady Anderson finding a magical workout and hot streak and hitting 50 home runs at age 32 when his career high was 21 bombs. But as Stewart noted in his interview, the point of journalism isn't to find religion after the fact. It's to ask the tough questions while they're still relevant, and before people begin losing their homes, before people like Ken Caminiti and Lyle Alzado pass away.

We don't demand of reporters that they catch every story, but we do demand that they catch the ones directly in front of their faces.

No comments: