The media response to Jamal Khashoggi’s horrifying murder helps us understand some of the ways they are changing. From Brent Bozell and Tim Graham at Townhall:
So Khashoggi was railing against one set of authoritarians … with the research assistance and “drafting” and “shaping” of another set. This doesn’t make his ruthless murder any less heinous. But it ought to curtail all the “Free Thinker Just Bearing Witness” rubbish.
The Post claims it was not aware of this little non-independent arrangement. It exploited his death to underline its “Democracy Dies in Darkness” promotional campaigns. It ran a full-page ad in December with a picture of Khashoggi and a candle in front of him and the words “A life is gone. The principles of free expression endure. The Washington Post.” Now it has been made aware … and nothing changes.More.
Reality check: Bozell and Graham assume that the fact that Khashoggi was a journalist of convenience is a problem. But they sound as though they are used to a time when people who were journalists for a living were strictly journalists.
By contrast, the Post and Time genuinely mourn Khashoggi as a martyr hero because his position as a political operative with a byline no longer seems unusual in media. Perhaps journalists are mostly like that now. They mourn sincerely because they just didn’t know that the game could get this deadly.
See also: Media still unglued in 2018 That’s a sign of decrepitude, actually.