Is it time to scrap the old journalistic ideal? (Nope.)
I spent decades of my life as a journalist and also taught journalism for years. It was a badge of honour for me when I would be told by some of the people that I interviewed "it was such a fair story" and I would think to myself "Interesting. Because you are the side that I can't stand." Rarely these days do I read a story or see a report that I cannot immediately figure out exactly what that reporter's viewpoint is. No wonder trust in the media is at an all time low. People are smart. They don't need lectures from on high. Show them both sides and they can decide for themselves
Aside from some base human moral fundamentals that are a clear indication of God's natural law, moral clarity is only a legitimate thing within a culture, ideology or theocracy. Because in some cultures it is morally okay for the family next door to kill and eat your pet cat if it wanders into their yard, and stone your married sister to death if she is seen walking with an unmarried man who is not her husband.
So, to claim some monolithic basis of morality outside of these cultural, ideological or theological boundaries, you would be required to eject the concept of cultural diversity and fee expression... and become a supporter of totalitarianism where some top authority defines the lines. But even those lines are subject to a requirement of constant debate and adjustment. Hence, canceling objectivity as the basis for professional journalism not only should disqualify the writer from being recognized as a professional journalist, but more importantly indicate a need for cognitive behavior therapy.
Haidt explains that the moral filters of liberals tend to be myopic and those of conservatives much more diverse and rich. Maybe liberals should stick to activism and get out of writing for a living as it would seem a terrible match for their personality.
I also subscribe to Common Sense and read Jesse Singal's piece there about the complete and total BYU reporting disaster. Sadly I was not surprised but I certainly was horrified
I remember all those who opposed gays in society, and abortion, and even contraception, back in the 1950s. They certainly believed that they had moral clarity on their side. What's more, they convinced society as a whole that it was so.
Protect me from those who possess the truth. They are more dangerous than the most radical revolutionary. At least we can fight back against the revolutionaries. But against these closed-minded bien-pensants, wrapped in the mantle of righteousness ?
"People depend on us to tell them what we see, not what we think.” Nailed it.
Thank you for being a voice of reason and integrity. I have been recommending Taibbi’s book to anyone who will listen.
Journalism in general is suffering from the same problem (as the CDC) of rarely if ever publishing the story of it's mistakes with the same vigor as it splashes it's latest hot news. It's hard to have any kind of trusting relationship with any organization (or individual) that never admits they screwed up. The hardest three words in the English language to utter without choking are ("I was wrong".
Dinosaur here (I remember when the local paper still had a "womens section" but it used to be that news was news and opinion was opinion. I wonder if part of the problem is that news is now reader supported. What if, for example, Rebel News were to criticize the F Trudeau movement, would they see an exodus of supporters? Could they survive financially?
Off topic a bit but did anyone catch the way laying Trudeau got from the British press, wow I would not want to be on the receiving end of that!!!!
PS noticed the The Line Ca just nuked their comments section, honestly don't blame them went downhill pretty fast!
I saw the movie Mr. Jones last night and read your essay this morning. Don’t know if you’ve seen it, but it recounts the efforts of journalist Gareth Jones to uncover the Ukrainian Holodomor in 1932-33. In addition to Soviet officials, he was also up against fellow Western journalists who were driven by a “moral clarity” (though that’s not what they called it back then) to support Stalin’s Great Experiment, turning a blind eye to the famine and other Stalinist atrocities and lying to their readers back in the US and UK in defence of the Soviet regime, which they believed would bring about positive change to the world. It was hard not to think about that as I read your piece.
I do appreciate any opportunity to hear opinions that question my own "established" feelings therefore this panel discussion was certainly pertinent and welcomed but I feel that the most important question was that concerning the lack of critical thinking to which there was no answer, nor any discussion. That in and of itself was telling... critical thinking, it would seem, is not important to this panel, only the message at hand has importance.
Lawyers, doctors, and engineers have a code of professional responsibility. Violations of which can result in the suspension or revocation of the license to earn a living. Journalists and News Media Organizations have no such reviewing body or punishment.
Organizations such as the NY Times, need to adhere to the same and violations of which need to be reported to the SEC so as to affect the value of their stock. Individual journalists need to be punished in some manner.
The colleges which produce such individuals need to have the right to federal loans revoked for all journalism majors. News media organizations need to be punished by the FTC and/or FCC. Like we have the best congress money can buy we also have the best journalists and news media money can buy.