Journalism Without Critical Thinking

by Kerry Martin

Forget Casey Anthony.  Personally I’ll be happy when the case of Anthropologists v. Scott is finally over in the court of public opinion.

While every liberal arts professor in higher education is picking up their pitchforks (or rather, writing in their letters to the editor), the news media is giving each and every one a platform to do so in the pages of their papers.  I’m not saying I agree or disagree with any one side (I believe the arguments of both), but I do think it’s getting plenty of attention.  Worst of all, when every known argument has already been made, it starts to get to the point that even weak theories and arguments are getting press.

Take for example this column from today’s Miami Herald about the case for poetry as an economic engine.  It piqued my curiosity as I wondered how this writer could back up the claim that this field would drive our economy.  Sadly, he couldn’t.  Or, at least, not without creating major flaws in his argument.

The crux of his reasoning is that poetry majors write so much and print out so many pages of paper that they are driving the paper industry (and the industries that produce printer toner, pencils, legal pads, etc.).

Really?  Office Depot owes its whole business profit to poetry majors?  Where is the logical thinking that these students could be consuming these and other products even if they weren’t poetry majors?

Would science majors buy lab supplies like beakers, safety goggles, and chemistry sets?  Would film majors buy DVDs, software licenses and other technology?  Would any other major still print out term papers, essays, notes, etc??

It’s great to support the grounds that citizens need a well-rounded education, but doing so in a way that lacks critical thinking doesn’t help.  Maybe journalism majors aren’t getting as well-rounded an education as we thought.

One Response to Journalism Without Critical Thinking

  1. Roger Pynn says:

    It remains the biggest failure of the media that editors have forgotten to teach reporters the importance of “why?” among the 5w’s. Oh, if they would just stop to ask themselves “why” when then write this stuff. And hopefully, other readers will look with the critical eye that brought you to write this.

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