New Yorker's David Remnick
Says Flipping Public the Bird
No Longer Works for Editors
'Q: Given the recent scandals in the field of journalism, do you think that ethics are disintegrating?
A: No. I think that transparency is increased. Twenty-five years ago, if you had tried to write a letter to Ben Bradlee (then editor of the Washington Post) or Abe Rosenthal (editor of the NYTimes) and gone on about, you know, 'How come you're so pro-Pakistan and anti-India?' or, alternately, 'How come you're so pro-India and anti-Pakistan?'--they were so powerful and so remote from the implications of the public that they could essentially flip the bird. Now that's not the case, and mostly to the good. So I think these questions are discussed more. There was in the old days, no New York Observer, there was no Web. Can these things be nasty? Can they be unreasonably personal? Can they be wrong? They can be all of those things, but they've also increased this sense of accountability. Were there things in the past at newspapers or magazines that were, as you say, as scandalous as some of the things we've seen in the last few years? Yes. They just didn't get as much attention.'
--From an interview (not online) with Remnick in the July/August issue of the excellent Poets & Writers Magazine