then and now

Jennifer had no interest in the past; she was one of the new generation that understand that gripping television was now, events happening now, a flow of images in a perpetual unending electronic present. Context by its very nature required something more than now, and her interest did not go beyond now. Nor, she thought, did anyone else’s. The past was dead and gone. Who cared what you ate yesterday? What you did yesterday? What was immediate and compelling was now.

And television at its best was now.

Television’s not about information at all. Information is active, engaging. Television is passive. Information is disinterested, objective. Television is emotional. It’s entertainment. Whatever he says, however he acts, in truth Martin has absolutely no interest in you, or your company, or your airplanes. He’s paid to exercise his one reliable talent: provoking people, getting them to make an emotional outburst, to lose their temper, to say something outrageous. He doesn’t really want to know about airplanes. He wants a media moment.

Casey just looked at her. She was a foolish kid who knew nothing about the world, who was just interested in a look, who lived for appearances, who skimmed over surfaces. She knew she should refuse.

Casey did not speak. She thought: She’s young. Young and stupid. The harshness of her own judgment surprised her. Perhaps she’d learned something from the tough older men at the plant. Men who knew about power, as opposed to posturing and strutting.

-Michael Crichton Airframe

After the release of the movie Spotlight, I was often asked how we at The Boston Globe were willing to take on the most powerful institution in New England and among the most powerful in the world, the Catholic Church.

The question really mystifies me—especially when it comes from journalists or those who hope to enter the profession. Because holding the most powerful to account is what we are supposed to do.

If we do not do that, then what exactly is the purpose of journalism?

God forbid we take on the weaker institutions, the weaker individuals, while letting the strongest ones off the hook only because they can forcefully fight back.

-Marty Baron ‘Washington Post editor Marty Baron has a message to journalists in the Trump era

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