Lebrecht: Why American Arts Journalism Is So Bad

Norman Lebracht doesn’t think much of American arts journalism. “The failure to challenge is a fundamental flaw in US arts journalism. The tone in US arts coverage is uniformly respectful, uninquiring, inherently supportive.” And how did this happen? Because there are few cities with multiple critical voices. “This monopoly places an unhealthy burden on critics. If theirs is to be the only voice to pronounce on a new show or the fate of an institution, they are obliged to wear a mantle of responsibility that is antithetical to good journalism. A critic is licensed to get it wrong from time to time. Restrict that license and the reviews grow safe and solemn. An era of incorporation fostered a pontifical tone in American arts criticism.”