The latest edition of “The Awesome Column” in TIME features Joel Stein‘s humorous commentary about an effort to reduce the federal budget for portrait painting. Even more interesting to this reader, though, was Stein’s tongue-in-cheek description of his approach to journalism. Other than the drug references, it’s a pretty spot-on description of the way many reporters approach their “craft.”
Part of my duty as a journalist is to root out corruption and waste in our government, but I’m not that into rooting. I’m more of a press-release reader. So I was thrilled to come across a press release from Senator Tom Coburn unearthing $30 billion wasted by the federal government. Coburn, understanding journalists like me, called his report “Wastebook” and designed it like a comic book, with a cover drawing of Superman lifting a garbage truck full of dolls, pears and a Christmas tree off an astronaut, while a blimp labeled ARMY flies over a dog holding a paper printed with the Obama election logo. Journalists like me, he clearly realizes, are usually high.
Substitute “lazy,” “uncritical,” or “disinterested” for “high,” and you cover a large segment of the journalistic community.