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Uncharted Territory

自分が読んで興味深く感じた英文記事を中心に取り上げる予定です

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Of course I’m still trying.

 


ある程度人生を歩んでいれば物事にはunpredictable resultやunwanted truthsがつきものだというのは経験から痛感しています。でもいずれも対応するのは厄介なものです。側から見ると愚かしい対応に見えるものの当事者が「なかったことにする」ことがあまりにも多いことからも伺い知れます。真実と向き合えるには、より良くなれるという信念がなくてはいけません。特に右肩下がりになっている日本では真実を知っても大変なだけなので、ますます「なかったことにする」風潮が強くなるかもしれません。

調査報道が重要だと認めながらウォーターゲート事件の映画だってEconomistの映画評のようにan expertly-made cultural product by an approved artist that is interesting in all the right predictable waysと批判することも可能でしょう。映画を楽しめるのはすでに過去のものですからねえ。

The film puts Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks into roles that they were made for—almost too much so, in a film made to flatter the journalists who will cover it
Jan 11th 2018by J.F. | WASHINGTON, D.C.

“The Post” is Oscar bait. But is it good? Well, it’s a like a gripping episode of “This American Life”, a novel by Jhumpa Lahiri or a new album from The National: an expertly-made cultural product by an approved artist that is interesting in all the right predictable ways, which is to say not really interesting at all, but comforting in a public-radio book-interview sort of way. There’s nothing wrong with that. People go to “Star Wars” to see spaceships and light-sabres and heroes wrestling with the dark side. People go to “The Post” to see decent people wrestling with tough problems. They go to both to see the good guys win.



こういう風潮の中、Seymour Hershの自伝Reporterは時代遅れのイタイ本でしかないかも知れません。それは本人も自覚しているようで前書きでも昨今の報道事情の苦しさから始めています。彼の名前を不動のものにしたベトナム戦争のソンミ村虐殺事件から今年で50年になるようです。彼はunpredictable resultやunwanted truthsを知らしめる調査報道をそれでも信じています。Dick Cheneyの本をまだ書けそうにもないので、とりあえず自伝を書いたとか。次のリンクで前書きを全て読めます。

I am a survivor from the golden age of journalism, when reporters for daily newspapers did not have to compete with the twenty-four-hour cable news cycle, when newspapers were flush with cash from display advertisements and want ads, when I was free to travel anywhere, anytime, for any reason, with company credit cards. There was sufficient time for reporting on a breaking news story without having to constantly relay what was being learned on the newspaper’ web page. 

 
There were no televised panels of the “experts” and journalists on cable TV who began every answer to every question with the two deadliest words in the media word–“I think”. We are sodden with fake news, hyped-up and incomplete information, and false assertions delivered nonstop by our daily newspapers, our television, our online news agencies, our social media, and our President.

Yes, it´s a mess. And there is no magic bullet, no savior in sight for the serious media. The mainstream newspapers, magazines, and television networks will continue to lay off reporters, reduce staff, and squeeze the funds available for good reporting, and especially for investigative reporting, with its high cost unpredictable result, and its capacity for angering readers and attracting expensive lawsuits. The newspapers of today far too often rush into print with stories that are essentially little more than tips, or hints of something toxic or criminal. For lack of time, money, or skilled staff, we are besieged with “he said, she said” stories in which the reporter is little more than a parrot. I always thought it was a newspaper´s mission to search out the truth and not merely to report on the dispute. Was there a war crime? The newspapers now rely on a negotiated United Nations report that comes, at best, months later to tell us. And have the media made any significant effort to explain why a UN report is not considered to be the last word by many throughout the world? Is there much critical reporting at all about the UN? Do I dare ask about the war in Yemen? Or why Donald Trump took Sudan off his travel ban list? (The leadership in Khartoum sent troops to fight in Yemen on behalf of Saudi Arabia.) 

My career has been all about the importance of telling important and unwanted truths and making America a more knowledgeable place. I was not alone in making a difference; think of David Halberstam, Charley Mohr, Ward Just, Neil Sheehan, Morley Safer, and dozens of other first-rate journalists who did so much to enlighten us about the seamy side of the Vietnam War. I know it would not be possible for me to be as freewheeling in today’s newspaper world as it was until a decade ago, when the monkey crunch began. I vividly remember the day when David Remnick, the editor of The New Yorker, called in 2011 to ask if I could do an interview with an important source by telephone rather than fly three thousand miles to do one in person. David, who did everything possible to support my reporting on the Abu Ghraib prison horror in 2004–he paid dearly to enable me to publish reporting pieces in three consecutive issues–made his plea to me in what I thought was a pained, embarrassed voice, almost a whisper. 

調査報道界の重鎮なので絶賛レビューももちろんあります。Rollingstoneの書評はその一つでしょう。引用したのは最後の部分ですが、べた褒めですよね。

The best of his generation writes a how-to that undermines the industry of Access Journalism
By Matt Taibbi 2 days ago

Hersh's career is a tribute to the pursuit of the "unpredictable result." We used to value reporters who were willing to alienate editors and readers alike, if that's the way the truth cut. Now, as often as not, we just change the channel. This has been bad for both reporters and readers, who are losing the will to seek out and face the unpredictable truth. 

When it comes time for the next generation of journalists to re-discover what this job is supposed to be about, they can at least read Reporter. It's all in here.

一方で、最近はトンデモ系に成り下がったという評価もつきまといます。New York Timesではその辺の事情も取り上げています。このブログでもビンラディン殺害はやらせだった?と扱いました。

By Michael M. Grynbaum
June 3, 2018

Mr. Hersh has found himself at odds with much of Washington’s reporting establishment since The New Yorker declined to publish his report on the death of Osama bin Laden — a story that directly contradicted the account given by the Obama White House and much of the mainstream press. Mr. Hersh instead turned to an unlikely venue, the London Review of Books, to make his case that Pakistani intelligence had not only been aware of the Bin Laden mission, but had cooperated with it as well.

Other reporters criticized the article, and his subsequent reporting on Syria, which questioned whether President Bashar al-Assad had gassed his own people, was similarly derided. But Mr. Hersh is unrepentant.

“It’s pretty clear now; nobody disputes it anymore,” he said, in an asked-and-answered tone, when I brought up the Bin Laden piece. (In fact, many reporters and former White House officials still dismiss his version of events as fantasy.) “When I wrote it, there was just hell to pay.” In his memoir, which refers to “the American murder of Osama bin Laden,” he writes: “I will happily permit history to be the judge of my recent work.”



ちょうどアマゾンプライムでThe Newsroomという2012年のドラマを見たのですが、まっとうなニュース報道の重要性は頭でわかっているんですが、何かものすごいコレジャナイ感を抱いてしまいました。シーズン3の途中で終わってしまったのもうなづけます。もうそんな時代ではないのでしょうか。

Seymour Hershだってそんな状況を十分理解しています。前書きの終わりの部分ですが、それでも諦めていない気概のようなものは十分感じます。

I do not pretend to have an answer to the problems of our media today. Should the federal government underwrite the media, as England does with the BBC? Ask Donald Trump about that. Should there be a few national newspapers financed by the public? If so, who would be eligible to buy shares in the venture? This is clearly the time to renew the debate on how to go forward. I had believed for years that all would work out, that the failing American newspapers would be supplanted by blogs, online news collectives, and weekly newspapers that would fill in the blanks on local reporting as well as on international and national news, but, despite a few successes–VICE, BuzzFeed, Politico, and Truthout come to mind–in isn’t happening; as a result, the media, like the nation, are more partisan and strident. 

So, consider this memoir for what it is: an account of a guy who came from the Midwest, began his career as a copyboy for a small agency that covered crime, fires, and the courts there, and eleven years later, as a freelance reporter in Washington working for a small antiwar news agency, was sticking two fingers in the eye of a sitting president by telling about a horrific American massacre, and being rewarded for it. You do not have to tell me about the wonder, and the potential, of America. Perhaps that’s why it’s very painful to think I might not have accomplished what I did if I were at work in the chaotic and unstructured journalism world of today. 

Of course I’m still trying. 

まだ読み終わっていませんが、彼の文章は読みやすいのでジャーナリズムに興味のある方にはオススメできそうです。
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