A quick Google search seems to indicate that Jeremy Paxman originated the question, “Why is this lying bastard lying to me?” Purportedly, it’s at the forefront of his thinking whenever he grills a politician. It’s also the thoroughly right attitude for any responsible journalist.*
So I was tremendously heartened to see British Politics lay into critics of the BBC‘s supposedly anti-war bias. “If good reporting is the kind of questioning that US reporters seem to give Bush, I’m a banana. The purpose of reporters is not to lob up soft ones for the masterful politicians to knock out of the ground. It’s to ask tough questions, to challenge presumptions, to probe, to push boundaries. What the Warbloggers seem to dislike is good journalism, rather than the breathless repeating of lines to take.”
*It’s not that all sources are lying bastards, but good journalism requires the sceptical distancing of assuming that they are.
The New York Times has important detail on the kind of administration that will be put in place after the war in Iraq. Although the British government is pressing for quick UN involvement, that will not be possible without specific Security Council authorisation.
The Times quotes UNDP director Mark Malloch Brown: “On the humanitarian side, we want to save lives no matter what. When it comes to reconstruction, that’s crossing a different Rubicon. We can’t be authorized by a subcontract of the US government. We have to be authorized by the Security Council.”
James McGee tackles the debate about the term blog, and whether its ugliness will restrict the tool’s spread. “Given the match between weblogs and this broader trend toward decentralized and distributed solutions, the lameness of ‘blog’ as a term might actually be one of its primary strengths. It reflects that weblogs are tools coming into organizations from the grassroots, not something imposed from a central source.”