Creature from the Blog Lagoon 12: Dear Adam Savage

Dear Adam,

During yesterday’s three-party YouTube streaming event about the turmoil in America the last few days, you of Mythbusters fame said:

“There seem to be a very systemic, across the country, the police were regularly ignoring press, asserting that they were press and arresting them, manhandling them, kettling [sic?] them, and the whole business. That’s really chilling.”


“Well, and it’s particularly pernicious at this exact time when the business model the Fourth Estate is under such attack by…people’s desire to have everything for free. That’s one thing that’s happening, and then the other is you have this direct attack where the President was encouraging protesters who were threatening and attacking journalists.”

Then, in response to this statement from one of the other participants:

[…the vast majority of the protests have been peaceful. We’ve only even seen the stuff on the news, where…]

you said:

“And the news, yeah, their job is to sensationalize, absolutely.”

It sounds like on one hand you recognize and value what journalists contribute to society and on the other hand you dismiss journalists as being of no value whatsoever. So, Adam, if our job is to sensationalize, do you follow your instincts and avoid the work we do? Are you sure you want to lump all “the news” together, accusing us all of sensationalism? Would you be careless enough to lump all African-Americans together? All Jews? All women? All handicapped people? All police officers?

I’ve worked with some excellent reporters, editors and other photojournalists, and not a single one has sought to sensationalize anything. Those that do tend to not last long in the business.

You may want to familiarize yourself with the tenets of some of the leading professional journalism organizations, such as:

That’s just a partial list of organizations that devote themselves to ethical journalism. Don’t get me wrong, journalists do need to be held accountable and bad journalists need to be called out. But to imply all journalists sensationalize the stories they cover is wrong, period. I thought you were smarter than that.

The vast majority of journalists take their obligation to be fair and accurate very seriously. Many of us put our safety and lives on the line so you can be aware of what’s going on around you. Some venture into war zones. Some wade into the middle of civil unrest. Some expose themselves to contagious diseases.

Do you, or do you not, value the work journalists do? If you do support our work, please rethink your blanket statement. In the meantime, I have civil unrest to photograph again. Checklist: Camera. Surgical mask. Goggles. Respirator.

Your BFF,

Dave Barak

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