Four lessons learned by Chris Cillizza!

FRIDAY, APRIL 19, 2013

Frankly, we’re sorry we looked: “What the Boston bombings taught me about journalism.”

That was the headline on a new post by the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. Instinctively, we knew we should pass it up.

Despite those better angels, something made us look.

Cillizza was especially thoughtful in the wake of the Boston bombings. Here’s the way he started:
CILLIZZA (4/19/13): What the Boston bombings taught me about journalism

The events in Boston over the last four days have riveted the nation—and put journalism, the profession that I love, under the microscope. I’ve been thinking about what lessons I can learn as a political reporter from everything that has happened over these last 96 hours. My reflections are below—in no particular order other than when they occurred to me.
Cillizza listed four lessons he learned from this week’s events—four lessons about journalism, the profession he loves.

We ended up being sorry we looked. We should have obeyed our initial impulse.

Some posts are better left unread. That said, will you have the discipline to resist the temptation to look?


  1. They're ever so hard on themselves, are the not?

    The self-scrutiny is just too rigorous... Stop, Chris! Put down that wet noodle before you pull a muscle or something!

    1. Pretty funny. You nailed it Cecelia. The whole article falls into the category of "No shit, Sherlock" pablum if you ask me.
      One of his points however, "establishing who are the true 'authorities'" and taking everything they say as gospel truth on their own say so DAMAGES true journalism.
      No journalist is EVER going to get the "true story" when a strong police presence is able to control the narrative and point him/her down many meaningless rabbit holes. If it's a set-up from the start you'll be - without even sometimes knowing it - reporting the accepted story but not necessarily the truth.
      My beef with modern journalism is their quickness to accept what "an authority" says - sometimes over many credible eye-witness accounts to the contrary. Then - when the narrative has been set - they all pile on.
      Another thing modern reporters tend to do is ignore any follow-up. For instance re Sandy Hook: when school nurse Sally Cox was interviewed she told them (and by extension the world) that she KNEW Nancy Lanza and that Lanza was an "excellent teacher" and very caring and worked at Sandy Hook. Later on, we all find out that Nancy Lanza wasn't employed at Sandy Hook and wasn't even a teacher. But yet, did any one of the talking heads go back to revisit what had been a giant lie? Not even a "Sally! WTF!"
      Castigate yourself over THAT, Chris.

  2. Off topic, but the speculation that conservatives might be involved in the Boston attack could not have been more wrong. Not only were the attackers Muslims, apparently Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a supporter of Barack Obama.

    Of course, it would be offensive to blame President Obama or the Democrats because someone who supported Obama became a terrorist. However, it was more offensive for various liberal sites, including this one, to speculatively blame conservatives for the bombing, when the bomber wasn't even conservative.

    1. You're an incorrigible idiot.

    2. And his brother got tossed from a mosque for yelling at Iman. Using David in Cal "logic" that makes him a Christian.


  3. DAinCA sez: "Of course, it would be offensive to blame President Obama or the Democrats because someone who supported Obama became a terrorist. "

    Could you possibly be any more pathetic?

    Why, the answer is yes, as you quote, a website that's dedicated to "exposing and combating liberal media bias."

    You can name no "liberal" site, including this one, that speculated that "conservatives" were to blame for the bombing. Random violence directed at the public is practically the antithesis of a conservative tactic. Speculation about far-right extremists was not aimed at conservatives in American political life, the Republican Party, or ignoramuses like you.

    1. Exactly. And it would be as wrong to blame Muslims for this as it would be to blame Christians for Eric Rudolph.

      What David, of course, deliberately failed to mention is that the "speculation" wasn't focuses solely on "conservatives" or even right-wing extremists.

      It covered the broad spectrum from foreign-based al Qaeda operatives to homegrown militias.

    2. It's true that the speculation wasn't focued solely on Conservatives and right-wing extremists. So, what? Suppose some pundit had publicly speculated that the bombers might well be black or far-left. I would have found that (hypothetical) comment racist, even though it didn't focus solely on blacks.

      P.S. The term "right-wing extremists" is ambiguous. Does it mean people who want extreme changes in our laws or people who use extreme methods to pursue those changes? E.g., the Tea Parties want extreme reductions in the size of government, but their methods have been ultra-respectable. Typically, their demonstrations leave the site cleaner than they found it.

    3. Well, it's certainly uncontaminated by cheese.

    4. I'm torn with this argument because I think that there were enough confluences here(tax day, Patriots Day, April anniversary of Waco and OK bombing) to make the conjecture sn obvious one.

      The problem lies in the widespread gratuitous and moronic implication of our political opponents as being responsible for outright crimes.

      God knows how many times Jay Z will be questioned over one of the recent terrorists tweeting one of his lyrics.

      God help a public person if some murderer is apprehended while reading their book.

      Don't like tough immigration laws, then you're responsible for drug running. If you're big on gun rights, then you essentially held the coat of Adam Lanza as he shot those children. Any allusion to the principle of freedom will not spare you from being accused of abetting a crime.

      It's an arrested development world and we're all perpetual adolescents. At best, we're the kids in Mean Girls. At worst, Lord of the Flies.


      Here's a rather sardonic video that you may enjoy, David.

    6. "the Tea Parties want extreme reductions in the size of the government..."

      Should I call this out as the 100% Grade A bullshit it is, or should I use the old court statement of "facts not in evidence"?


  4. BTW I recommend the column, Why coverage of 'right-wing' violence irritates conservatives. It expands on the final point in the above post. Liberals may not buy what it says, but at least it will help you understand how the other side thinks.

    1. Crymeafugginriver. The commentariat may talk about say, a leftist Italian political party like Partito Democratico della Sinistra and in the same sentence mention the left-wing terrorists Brigate Rosse, and no liberals would be outraged. I had to go off shore for an example, because there aren't any domestic left-wing equivalents of McVeigh. No matter what the Teahadists and the NRA have to say about Obama.

      Thanks for the link, but I already understand the psychological mechanism of defensiveness.

    2. There are indeed left wing analogues of Timothy McVeigh. E.g. Presdient Obama's buddies Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn. (I guess they're sort-of my buddies too. I graduated with Bernadine. She has invited the entire graduating class to her home for a party during reuion week.) Also, there were the Black Panthers.

      You may say that the bombings done by Ayers and Dohrn were a long time ago. I agree. But, so was the Oklahoma City bombing. It was almost 20 years ago.

    3. I'd suggest the Unabomber too.

    4. DAinCA, Obama served on a committee with Bill Ayers, when the latter was a professor at the U of I. I've never heard of any connection between Obama and Dohrn. Obama was eight years old when the SDS was formed. The left-wing analog you're talking about, the Weather Underground, did mount a bombing campaign in which they managed to kill three of their own members. The Black Panthers whom the police didn't kill outright spent their time in federal court on various charges. You have to go back over 40 years to cite either as a viable example.

      CeceliaMc, the Unabomber was a paranoid schizophrenic, not a one-man political movement.

  5. I am glad I surrendered to temptation because it revealed to me the naiveté, immaturity, arrogance and superficiality that too much of modern journalism has embraced.

  6. And it would be as wrong to blame Muslims for this as it would be to blame Christians for Eric Rudolph.

    Mahatma Ghandi wouldn't agree. He is quoted in his book, Gandhi: The Power of Pacifism, by Catherine Clement, as follows:

    While Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Parsees and Jews, along with several million adherents of an animistic religion, all coexisted in relative harmony, one religion that would not accept compromise stood out from the rest: Islam.

    Of oourse Ghandi made this statement a long time ago, but it seems to be still true today. For some reason, Islam, as a religion, inspires violence in a way that other religions don't.

    1. As grateful as I am for your channeling the Mahatma, I'm just the teensiest bit doubtful that he would have endorsed the concept of collective guilt no matter his experience with members of the Muslim community during the Raj.

      Yes, Islam has inspired violence in some of its adherents. And it has also inspired Sufism. And no, the violence so inspired by Islam is depressingly familiar to the violence inspired by other religions -- Protestants and Catholics toward each other in Belfast, Buddhists in Sri Lanka against Christians and Tamils, Hindus in India against Christians, the Lord's Resistance Army in Uganda and Sudan against everybody else there.

      Really, now. Is there any bottom to your ignorance?

    2. I agree with you deadrat that collective guilt doesn't apply. What is important IMHO is that somehow Islam today continues to inspire a substantial number of terrorist attacks throughout the world. It behooves us to figure out what's going on and devise some way of coping with it. We won't figure it out if we deny that radical Islam needs to by studied and dealt with.

      Somehow it has become politically incorrect to discuss and focus on radical Islam. That kind of denial may have helped the Boston attacks succeeded. There were a lot of indications that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a terrorism risk, yet the FBI dropped the ball. Maybe a more focus on radical Islam would have stopped the attack before it began.

    3. DAinCA, You're this week's winner in the Build-a-Straw-Man contest.

      Somehow it has become fixed in your head that it's politically incorrect to discuss and focus on radical Islam. But like a lot of stuff in your head, it's not true. Mostly it's just plain incorrect to equate a religion of 1B adherents with it's craziest extremists.

      But as a scholar of radical Islam, perhaps you can tell us how "more focus" would have anticipated attacks by Chechens. You'd think Chechens would understand that this country's citizens aren't all that well disposed to Russian military policy. But figuring out religious extremists is hard for rational people. Try communing with the Mahatma. Perhaps he can help. Get back to us on that.

  7. BTW deadrat, even Bill Maher agrees with me.

    Maher took issue with that claim [that religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam], calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.

    “You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”

    Read more:

    1. Murdering abortion providers: Christians are shutting out the Muslims in a rout. Oh, is that not politically correct enough for you, David? Sorry. religious fanatics are religious fanatics. And they ALL should be studied and condemned.


    2. Actually, we sorta have a tradition of not condemning people until they do something wrong.

    3. By the way, Salman Rusdie, Kurt Westergaard, and the late Theo van Gogh, might differ with you.

  8. Very nice blog post. I certainly appreciate
    this website. Continue the good work!

    Here is my web-site ... how much should i weigh calculator

  9. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as I provide credit
    and sources back to your webpage? My website is in the very same niche as yours and my users would truly
    benefit from some of the information you provide here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Thanks a lot!

    Feel free to surf to my web-site: Evgeni Malkin Jersey

  10. I am really glad to read this blog posts which carries tons of helpful information, thanks for
    providing these statistics.

    Feel free to visit my site - Cheap Louis Vuitton Bags

  11. Please let me know if you're looking for a author for your weblog. You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I'd love to write some content for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please shoot me an email if interested. Regards!

    Feel free to surf to my webpage ... Converse

  12. It is perfect time to make a few plans for the longer term and it's time to be happy. I've read this put up and if I may I wish to suggest
    you few fascinating things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I want to read more issues about it!

    Feel free to visit my web site Abercrombie and Fitch

  13. This excellent website truly has all the info I wanted about this subject and didn't know who to ask.

    Also visit my homepage; Gucci scarpe

  14. Hello would you mind letting me know which web
    host you're using? I've loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most.
    Can you recommend a good internet hosting provider
    at a fair price? Kudos, I appreciate it!

    Feel free to visit my homepage :: Michael Kors Outlet

  15. Hello, yup this post is truly nice and I have learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging.

    My blog ... Louis Vuitton Bags

  16. Wonderful website уou haνe here but I wаѕ сurіous іf you knew of any fοгums that cover the ѕаme
    topicѕ talkeԁ аbout here? I'd really love to be a part of community where I can get feed-back from other knowledgeable individuals that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Kudos!

    My homepage ... Payday Loans

  17. I do not know if it's just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your site. It appears as though some of the written text in your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a problem with my internet browser because I've had
    this happen previously. Cheers

    Check out my homepage;

  18. Hey theгe! I coulԁ have ѕworn I've been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it's new tο me.
    Anуhow, I'm definitely happy I found it and I'll be boоk-mаrκіng and сhеcκing bасk frequently!

    Нerе iѕ my web-site: Resistor Power

  19. I read thіs post complеtеlу соnсеrning the
    compariѕon of most гeсent аnd еaгlieг technologiеs, it's remarkable article.

    Here is my web site New Bingo Sites

  20. you're really a just right webmaster. The site loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you'гe doing any unіquе trick.

    Furthermorе, The contеnts аrе masterwork.
    yοu've performed a magnificent job on this subject!

    Here is my webpage :: potentiometers

  21. Good day! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my old room mate!

    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him.

    Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you
    for sharing!

    Here is my homepage ::

  22. Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who truly understands what they're discussing on the net. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised you aren't more popular given that you definitely have the gift.

    Feel free to visit my web blog Mario Lemieux Jersey

  23. We're a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your website provided us with valuable info to work on. You have done a formidable job and our entire community will be thankful to you.

    Here is my web-site; Sac Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

  24. I like the helpful information you supply on your articles.
    I'll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here frequently. I'm quite
    sure I will be informed many new stuff right
    right here! Best of luck for the next!

    Feel free to visit my webpage ::

  25. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a colleague who had been conducting a little research on this.
    And he actually bought me lunch because I stumbled upon it
    for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!
    ! But yeah, thanx for spending some time to talk about this issue here on your blog.

    Here is my web site: Air Max Pas Cher

  26. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find most of your post's to be what precisely I'm looking for.
    Would you offer guest writers to write content in your case?
    I wouldn't mind publishing a post or elaborating on a number of the subjects you write with regards to here. Again, awesome blog!

    My webpage Air Jordan Pas Cher

  27. Hi, I do believe this is a great blog. I stumbledupon
    it ;) I will return once again since I book marked it.
    Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

    Also visit my blog ... Bonuses

  28. You actually make it seem really easy together with your presentation but
    I in finding this matter to be actually something which I think I might by no
    means understand. It seems too complicated and extremely
    wide for me. I'm taking a look ahead to your subsequent post, I'll try
    to get the hold of it!

    Look at my homepage ... Visit Website

  29. Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up
    and let you know a few of the pictures aren't loading properly. I'm not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I've tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    My webpage; Get More Information

  30. Hello there, I do believe your web site could possibly be having internet browser compatibility problems.
    Whenever I take a look at your site in Safari,
    it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that,
    fantastic website!

    my homepage ...

  31. This paragraph provides clear idea in favor of the new people of blogging, that actually how to do running a

    Also visit my site ...

  32. Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out
    much. I hope to give something back and help others like you helped me.

    Here is my web-site: Bonuses

  33. I have read so many content about the blogger lovers except this post is genuinely
    a fastidious piece of writing, keep it up.

    Stop by my web page; Christian Louboutin

  34. ӏ beliеve that іs one οf the most impοrtant
    information for me. Anԁ і am glаd ѕtudying youг
    article. Howeѵеr want to оbserνаtion on few nοrmal isѕues, Τhе
    ωeb sіte taste іѕ ωonderful, the artісles іs in гeality exсellеnt :
    D. Good taѕk, cheers

    My wеb page; Varistor Voltage 

  35. Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere,
    when i read this paragraph i thought i could also create comment due to this brilliant paragraph.

    Here is my web-site :: Air Max

  36. I love what you guys are usually up too. Such clever work and reporting!
    Keep up the superb works guys I've incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

    Take a look at my weblog ... kd basketball shoes

  37. I savor, result in І found ϳust ωhаt ӏ was
    looking for. You have ended mу 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have а great dаy. Bye

    my homepage ... george οhm **

  38. Нello, I dеsiгe to subѕcribe for thіѕ wеbpаgе tο get newest uрԁatеs, thus ωhere can i
    do it plеaѕe hеlp.

    my web-ѕite; Reѕistοг
    color сoԁe :: :

  39. It's going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I am reading this wonderful article to increase my know-how.

    Here is my page Louis Vuitton Handbags ()

  40. Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it.
    Look advanced to more added agreeable from you!

    By the way, how can we communicate?

    Also visit my weblog; New Kobe Bryant Shoes

  41. Hey very interesting blog!

    My webpage :: Air Jordan Pas Cher

  42. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about record software demo.

    Here is my web site; Low Nike Blazers

  43. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP.

    I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses.

    But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using Movable-type on several websites for about a year and am anxious about switching to
    another platform. I have heard fantastic things about blogengine.
    net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content
    into it? Any help would be really appreciated!

    my webpage :: Abercrombie France

  44. It's going to be ending of mine day, however before finish I am reading this fantastic article to increase my knowledge.

    my web-site ... Billige Nike Free

  45. Hi to every body, it's my first go to see of this web site; this web site contains remarkable and genuinely excellent data in favor of visitors.

    Here is my page ... air jordan

  46. Link exchange is nothing else but it is simply placing the other person's webpage link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in favor of you.

    my site; Michael Kors Outlet

  47. With havin so much content аnd articles do уou еver гun
    into any prοblemѕ of plagогism or coрyгіght infringement?
    My blog has a lot of unique content I've either written myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any solutions to help reduce content from being ripped off? I'd really aρpгecіаte it.

    Нere iѕ my blog :: reѕistance οf a resistοr (

  48. Hey! I κnow this іs sоrt of off-topic
    but I needеd to ask. Doeѕ managіng а well-establіshed blοg such аs yourѕ tаκе a lot οf work?

    І'm brand new to blogging but I do write in my diary everyday. I'd like to ѕtагt а blοg so I
    ωill be аble to ѕhare my еxpеrіеnce and feelіngs оnline.
    Pleаse let me knoω if you hаve anу гecommenԁatіons or tіpѕ for new aspіrіng blog οwners.
    Apprеcіatе it!

    my weblog resistoг coloг cοdе cаlculator ::

  49. Үou rеallу mаke it sеem really eaѕy tοgetheг ωіth уοur ргesentаtіon but Ӏ
    to fіnd this matter tо be rеally something
    that I feel Ι'd never understand. It seems too complex and very vast for me. I'm taking a look forwaгd
    for yοuг next ѕubmit, І'll attempt to get the grasp of it!

    Look at my blog; power rating

  50. Amazing blog! ӏs your theme custom made οг did you download it from sοmeωhere?

    A theme like yοuгs wіth a few sіmple adϳustementѕ ωoulԁ really maκe my blog shinе.
    Please let me knοw where you got your design.


    Also ѵisit my web-site - wiki Resistor

  51. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your
    blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it's rare to see a great blog like this one today.

    Check out my web page - chiropracteur sherbrooke