Down with insider reporting

IF Stone’s spirit is alive and well, but you will not find it on the pages of most newspapers.

Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward has taken the stand and placed another stone on the grave of insider journalism.

Insider journalism, the type of journalism that relies on anonymous sources much of the time and a dependent relationship the other part of the time, should be discarded and discredited as journalistic practice.

Crooked Judith Miller, formerly of the New York Times, is the poster girl of insider journalism helping to guide public opinion and garner support for the invasion of Iraq. And now we know most of her stories to be merely pawn moves controlled by the Bush administration. Her reliance on anonymous sources and her loyalty to these sources, rather than to the public, led her to being in prison for three months. But her term served was not a fight for journalist rights as much as a fight to keep her own job.

The great IF Stone, who started the admirable “IF Stone’s Weekly,” was so independent that he is said to have never voted and said every government is run by liars and nothing they say should be believed. Journalists must return to that same independence, that same ethic. And indeed, that spirit seems to be growing on the blogosphere where no corporation is safe and no public official is to be believed at first word.

Disgraced journalists such as Judith Miller and Bob Woodward are the figureheads of insider journalism, a practice that has led the media to be played like a GameBoy and led this nation to a war and President George W. Bush being elected twice, the first time by the Supreme Court.

We must all be cynics and critical of what officials say with obvious interests. Bloggers and the Internet have led to a spirit of the Wild West with many taking on an idealism that has been cast aside as a dreamy relic.

IF Stone’s spirit is alive and well, but you will not find it on the pages of newspapers, but rather on the electric orchestra of the Internet.