TV newsman Kalb pans 'journalism of negativism'

October 07, 1994|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,Sun Staff Writer

The Nixon administration wire-tapped Marvin Kalb's phone, told the IRS to audit him every year and claimed he was a Romanian agent.

Mr. Kalb, who gave the Frank R. Kent Lecture on Journalism last night at the Johns Hopkins University, was on former President Richard M. Nixon's enemies list because of the well-known television newsman's reports on the Watergate scandal.

Mr. Kalb said Watergate and the Vietnam war spawned "a new journalism of negativism and cynicism."

"The press has gotten too fat, is too blinded by its own sense of importance and is overpaid," Mr. Kalb, the Edward R. Murrow professor of press and public policy at Harvard University, said before his speech. "It has lost a sense of necessity and balance and propriety."

This new journalism has the public confused, he said, adding that more people read the tabloids than daily newspapers and prefer talk-show hosts like Larry King to journalists like Ted Koppel.

"There is a distinct blurring of the the difference between news and entertainment, between hard news and soft features, between reporting and opinion," Mr. Kalb said. "The result is confusion in the newsroom and confusion in the living room."

Mr. Kalb said he is optimistic that the press can learn from the past and "find a way out of this dark age."

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