Monday, October 3, 2011

Reporting Obstacles

I just finished  working with citizen and professional journalists in Tunisia.  “What are some of the obstacles you face in your reporting,” I asked.  Working through the translator, the Tunisian journalist replied, “the police beat me and smashed my camera.”
Yes, that truly would be an obstacle.  

In Tunisia, despite continued threats of violence Tunisian journalists pushed for answers.   They’re still pushing for answers.   And in talking with several, currently they have a high degree of confidence the upcoming elections this month will be fair.   Let’s hope so.
What were the obstacles we faced in this country that prevented journalists from questioning the bankers and the regulators and Congress about securitizing liars loans?  Why didn't we question the implications of credit default swaps, and why wouldn't the industry want what was insurance to be called insurance?   Oh yes, then it might have to come under some regulation.  
Concerned citizens wouldn’t have to be occupying Wall Street if journalists had occupied their positions as actual  journalists.   What was the fear that prevented American news organizations from doing the reporting that was necessary?   Was it fear of having to actually invest in worthwhile reporting?   The citizens occupying Wall Street might not have a focused agenda, but many of them appear to be asking better questions about how we got here than our journalists did.    And as one of them said on MSNBC this morning, it doesn't matter that main stream media doesn't cover it.   Like in Tunisia, what's happening is being pushed through social networks. 
Perhaps the citizens will continue to ask the questions our journalists should have been asking years ago.   Let's hope they get some accountability and some answers.

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