Thursday, October 14, 2004

WHY I LIKE PAUL WELLS

In his October 11th post titled, Aaron Brown, standing on guard Wells questions why CNN chose, now, to send a top-notch journalist to investigate the possibility of terrorists entering the U.S from Canada. Succinctly, intelligently and with a good deal of wit Wells undermines any justification CNN might have had to pursue such a story.

But it is not Wells' defence of Canada, nor his intelligent writing, nor even his continued ability to bring context and reason to the subjects he discusses, though these are all true, that make me admire him.

What I really admire about Wells is that he takes journalism seriously, and that he believes it can make a difference, a real difference, in the world.

Wells ends the above mentioned post writing,

...it is profoundly weird of CNN and CBS and all the rest to spend so much time fretting about Canada. The boys of 9/11 found Florida much more congenial than Canada for their plotting. And as long as good reporters are sent north on wild goose chases, that isn't likely to change.

The underlying assumption behind that final sentence is that journalists, by asking important questions, and calling attention to the unconsidered topics, factors and events of our lives, can effect change. Journalsist need not and should not simply be pundits, prognosticators or reporters.

The fundamental roll of journalists in a democratic society is to maintain a free and informed public sphere. I get the sense that Wells understands that and attempts to achieve it more than most others in his profession.

Posted by Matthew @ 2:09 AM