A Quote for the Day – from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
As I have written before, I do not read many novels (I jokingly say that I average one a decade. It may be a slightly higher number than that – but not much higher!). Well, I am currently immersed in the whopping best-seller, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. (I’m nearly one third through the novel).
As always with a good novel, we can find quotes that speak to the issues of the age. Here’s one, about the main character, financial journalist Carl Mikael Blomkvist, who at the beginning of the book has just been convicted of libeling a financier and is facing a fine and three months in jail. Read it, and think about the financial reporting (and, really, most “journalism”) in this country over the last two-three years…
Blomkvist did not mince words. In the last twenty years, Swedish financial journalists had developed into a group of incompetent lackeys who were puffed up with self-importance and who had no record of thinking critically. He drew this conclusion because time after time, without the least objection, so many financial reporters seemed content to regurgitate the statements issued by CEOs and stock market speculators – even when this information was plainly misleading or wrong. These reporters were thus either so naïve and gullible that they ought to be packed off to other assignments, or they were people who quite consciously betrayed their journalistic function. Blomkvist claimed that he had often been ashamed to be called a financial reporter, since then he would risk being lumped together with people whom he did not rate as reporters at all…
He painted a picture of the outcry that would result if a legal correspondent began uncritically reproducing the prosecutor’s case as gospel in a murder trial, without consulting the defence arguments or interviewing the victim’s family before forming an opinion of what was likely or unlikely.
To listen to a terrific discussion of this book, in one of her “Reader’s Review” hours on the Diane Rehm program, go here.
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