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Would Mainstream Reporters Like to Be My Deep Throat?

Lenny Isenberg: Given your unparalleled access to those in power at places like the Los Angeles Unified School District, are there good news stories about LAUSD or other news subjects that you would like to report but can't get past your editors?

Back in June of 2014 I was standing outside of Wendy Greuel's campaign headquarters on election night after her failed attempt to win retiring Congressman Henry Waxman's seat. Both national and local reporters were also there to hear her concession speech.

Deep Throat

Would Mainstream Reporters Like to Be My Deep Throat?—Lenny Isenberg

Given your unparalleled access to those in power at places like the Los Angeles Unified School District, are there good news stories about LAUSD or other news subjects that you would like to report but can't get past your editors?

To pass the time I thought I would go around and ask the reporters present the following question, which I never thought they would answer: Given your unparalleled access to those in power at places like the Los Angeles Unified School District, are there good news stories about LAUSD or other news subjects that you would like to report but can't get past your editors? To a reporter, the answer was in the affirmative.
We now have either five or six corporations—depending on your source—that control virtually all media in the United States. We have arrived at a point where reporters are so muzzled by their corporate owners and editors preconceived, distorted, and often downright false dominant narratives that there is no longer the possibility of reporting anything that even remotely resembles a truly fact-based news story.

While I have railed against this kind of "reporting" that I have often found reminiscent of the state run media in the old Soviet Union, I also have been empathetic enough to put myself in the position of a reporter with a family, a mortgage, and kids going to college and understand why these reporters went along after someone like a Sam Zell took over the Chicago Tribune and then the Los Angeles Times in 2007. These reporters choose to remain working, instead of joining the thousands of their colleagues that were put out of work as a direct and planned result of these new media conglomerates closing and/or consolidating news bureaus. These reporters were thankful to keep working, even if they had to compromise the truth and all the ideals that got them into journalism in the first place.

There is a line from Ignazio Silone's book Bread and Wine that stopped me in my tracks decades ago when I first read it, "All of our lives are lived provisionally, we think that for now, things are bad. We get ready to die never having lived." I wonder if reporters who made their pact with the devil in order to continue working have had a similar thought pass through their heads over the last few years as the controls over newspapers, television, and radio have become more and more absolute and the quality of the "news" has become more and more deplorable.

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Let me make a modest proposal inspired by my shadowy hero Deep Throat in All The President's Men. Instead of Deep Throat giving reporters Woodward and Bernstein the inside scoop on Watergate, why don't you reporters give me or any other independent media outlet enough facts about a news topic that you have not been able to get past your editor.

Of course, I would have you sanitize it enough, so that it couldn't be traced back to you. But once the story is blown open on the Internet, this would finally get you the green light from your editors to write about something that is presently verboten.

Can you trust me or anybody else with information that would cost you your jobs, if it came out that we got it from you? All I would say to you is I protect my sources and have done what I do for the last 6 years without compensation and without financially settling with the people, who if they succeed will destroy the institutions we both hold dear.

Think about it, with all the power of corporations and government- if there still is a distinction- they weren't able to stop Ed Snowden's revelations. So get in touch with me or any other independent Internet media site, so you might once again just have a chance of knowing that joy of a real reporter like in All The President's Men or the current film Spotlight, which alas now seems only to be a fantasy only possible in the movies.

As for other independent media out there with the power to still go wherever the story leads, add your contact information as a comment to this post. You never know who might just contact you.

leonard isenberg

Leonard Isenberg