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A Young Journalist’s Legacy, Five Years Later


This article by Roger Ream originally appeared in National Review. You can find the original article here.

As we remember Joseph Rago, it’s important to strive for the kind of serious journalism that he produced in his tragically short career.

“There is no inherent virtue to instantaneity,” wrote the late Joseph Rago, columnist for The Wall Street Journal. He was prescient when he wrote this in 2006 as a growing number of political commentators began taking to online platforms to share their musings, however incoherent or lacking in research or rigor they might be. But Rago knew that such pundits are merely fish latched to the belly of a shark. They ride the current news-cycle in search of a bite, only to feed from the scraps of real journalists dedicated enough to do the work.

“We rarely encounter sustained or systematic thought — instead, panics and manias; endless rehearsings of arguments put forward elsewhere; and a tendency to substitute ideology for cognition,” Joe continued. “The participatory Internet, in combination with the hyperlink, which allows sites to interrelate, appears to encourage mobs and mob behavior.”


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