How the US press corps lost its way


The eulogies for Washington Post columnist David Broder and the chaos surrounding National Public Radio have coincided as an unintended commentary on what went wrong with the U.S. news media. For different reasons, Broder, who died Wednesday at the age of 81, and NPR, which is scrambling to save its federal funding, came to reflect the timidity of American mainstream journalism, unwilling or unable to challenge the corruption of the status quo. Broder personified the cult of centrism, a faith in "The System" that ignored how hollowed out its institutions had become, at least in terms of any moral or democratic values. NPR, with its endless attempts to mollify conservatives, demonstrated how slippery the slope can be when a price tag is put on journalism. As NPR slides ever downward in its frantic attempts to appease the Republican House majority -- most recently with a cascade of resignations -- it's hard not to conclude that the radio network may not be worth saving.