Neal Gabler: How Not to Be a Journalist

November 29th, 2005 12:51 AM
Fox News Watch is a Sunday program about journalism. This weekend, it demonstrated how not to be a journalist. The star of this dreadful segment was Neil Gabler.

Much of the discussion was on the coverage of the Iraq War. Gabler has frequently demonstrated his bias to the left on this program. This time, he was over the top.

Twice in the course of this discussion he yelled, not merely said,

"Iraq is a DISASTER. Get it? EVERYBODY gets it now."

Therefore, anyone who disagreed with his conclusion, whether a spokesman for the Administration, or even anyone on the program including the token conservative on the program, Cal Thomas, is wrong.

Gabler also denigrated the actual progress in Iraq by saying,

"The good news is they painted some schools. The bad news is, anybody who teaches there is going to get blown up."

There have been two instances of shootings of school teachers in Iraq. That is about equal to the teacher shootings in an average year in the Los Angeles Unified School District. But perspective does not seem to be Gabler’s long suit.

Host Eric Burns tried to bring Gabler back to responsibility by saying,

"You put both of those [stories] out there and let everybody decide how to weigh them."

Gabler responded,

"Oh COME ON. It’s already BEEN weighed. That would be irresponsible for the press to say [that]. WE KNOW that Iraq is a DISASTER." [All emphases are in the original.]

Later in the program, in defending Jon Stewart as "the best journalist in America," Gabler said what we need is "journalism of truth." Set aside the question of whether Stewart can be labeled as dealing in truth, rather than humor. Apply Gabler’s comment to Gabler. Neal ironically condemned his own comments on this very program.

Truth does not consist of the conclusion without facts, advanced by the journalist who shouts the loudest. If Gabler’s comment were accurate, all the news media could close their Iraq bureaus and bring their reporters home. Why risk the lives of real reporters to the bombs of the "insurgents," who are actually terrorists and now are threatening to murder four more civilians, one of them an American? Why do that when a "media writer," Neal Gabler, in his office in the US, can provide the conclusions without risk?