While it may be useful to attack the credibility of individual journalists, it’s more economical to attack the credibility of journalism as a whole.
The main reason for being for the existence of journalism is political: it’s supposed to inform the public sufficiently so that they are capable of making important political decisions. The importance of journalism is only relative to the importance of how politically informed the enfranchised population is.
Considering that democracy has failed, the stated mission of journalism has also failed. The pretense of maintaining an informed public was always a relatively thin one, but it becomes even more challenging when public-interest newspapers are increasingly struggling to maintain their market positions. The notion that people want to be informed about the goings-on of local, national, and international political affairs becomes less and less sustainable each day.
The truth is that it’s not that information is no longer valuable. The continued success of the Bloomberg Terminal demonstrates that people who need timely, accurate information will spend at least $2,000 per month to get it. Skilled workers everywhere are willing to shell out for useful manuals that tell them how to do their jobs. People who need knowledge or training that must be customized are always willing to pay for it. The existence of the internet does not change that — if anything, it has expanded the market for useful, timely information.
It’s just that part of the value of that information must come from it being kept scarce, that is, non-public.
What journalism relied on was the democratic pretense of ‘informing the public’ so that they could make intelligent voting decisions. These intelligent voting decisions have never happened. The ‘informed public’ was always an imaginary concept, that nonetheless might have been more believable in a time when the franchise was relatively restricted, and the population in Western countries was arguably of a higher overall innate quality.
The ideal democratic man or woman is impossibly well-rounded, is well-informed in countless topics, and is able to wisely delegate authority on everything from mining regulation to regulations on derivatives to war to peace.
This insane, counter-intuitive notion is not applied in any other area of life, except for in democratic politics. Journalists, although they are supposed to have specialties, are often profoundly misinformed about their supposed areas of expertise. Because they spend most of their time merely talking to people who are supposed to be informed (academics, consultants, and other self-interested ‘experts’), and not actually laboring in their supposed area of expertise, they usually don’t know what they’re writing about, and don’t even know what they don’t know anything about.
People who want to achieve excellence are instead advised to avoid reading journalists, because their work tends to be so profoundly misleading and harmful to the characters of their readers. People need good information to make better decisions, but they don’t need that to come from newspapers writing for a general audience on uselessly broad topics from a radical leftist perspective.