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Time to Use the D-Word

What Do We Learn from the Prevalence of "Beat Sweeteners"?

Duncan Black on the journalistic "Trust Us, We Know What We're Doing" mantra:

Eschaton: I think the main issue with beat sweeteners is that they're part of a whole host of journalistic practices which aren't especially pretty... and more than that, they're practices that the public is largely ignorant of. There's a lack of transparency in journalism which is often at odds with the great degree of self-righteousness regularly exhibited by some in the profession.

You can't simultaenously be a superhuman devotee to truth telling and someone who writes stories deliberately to curry favor with sources. Such practices might at times be, on balance, good for the overall goal of providing information for readers (though frequently they're probably just good for the overall goal of personal career elevation), but they're also a reminder that journalism as practiced is not the pristine objective truth machine that some suggest when writing columns about how bloggers s---...