Mike Daisey, in a Facebook comment thread, confronts a former CNN vice-president with the press’s blindness to its own sickness, in the wake of CNN’s much-derided coverage of the Steubenville rape trial:
This is an absolutely perfect example of a story that tells all the facts in front of these reporters, and they have totally failed to tell the truth of the story.
To the rejoinder, “Kindly tell me your journalism training,” Daisey responds:
And here would be the bullshit part where the experts, who have clearly fucked up the story, demand everyone else’s credentials as though it is still 1978. Cheap and tacky. My credentials are that I’m a goddamn conscious citizen.
And thus we find ourselves once again at the root of the broader problem: A failure of imagination on the part of many in the press establishment to recognize that transcription is not the same as telling the truth, and not the same as seeking or arriving at the truth. I’ve talked about this before in the context of the tech press’s inability to stomach the license taken by screenwriters or Daisey himself in his theatrical work. But it’s a problem with the entire industry, and it’s an industry that is on its way to being upended by the growing number of savvy news consumers who demand, and the reporters and outlets that can deliver, more than recitation.