A Dart to the Columbia Journalism Review

By September 25, 2007Media Relations

Columbia Journalism Review picked an inauspicious time to be sending out subscription pitches to Journalism School alumni, coinciding with the debacle that was Ahmadinejad’s appearance at the university.

Reading through the pitch letter (.pdf copy here) signed by CJR Editor Mike Hoyt, we were struck by the unremitting hostility it emits toward U.S. institutions, primarily the government but also business and religion. In CJR’s world view, a journalist’s responsibility is apparently to attack, attack, attack — because the institutions being reported on are corrupt and a threat to our freedoms.

And the come-on leads with a preposterous assertion:

In the last few years, threats to press freedom have grown to an unprecedented level. And so has the response of the Columbia Journalism Review.

Unprecedented? Remember the Alien and Sedition Acts? World War I?

The sales letter even includes the prominent use of the “f word” to lend, what, authenticity? Hipness?

It’s like the Columbia Journalism Review is now run by some left-wing hack from The Nation.

We write here at Shopfloor.org about media bias off and on, the inclination of mainstream media outlets to hype risk, denigrate business and generally take an oppositional stance toward the free market and cultural institutions. The CJR subscription pitch is a sad but very telling illustration of that attitude.

They can keep their free issue.

UPDATE (11:15 Wednesday): Ken Shepherd of Newsbusters.org comments:

It underscores the importance that media critics and academia-watchers can play in the blogosphere of bringing relatively obscure but profoundly telling documents like Hoyt’s letter to the fore for discussion.

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