MSNBC (surprise!) has performed a valuable public service in investigating the political campaign contributions of 144 journalists. Of the 144, all but 17 gave to Democratic or left-leaning organizations or candidates. The investigators not only uncovered the contribution details, but made an effort to interview the journalists and/or their editors to get explanations on how these contributions squared with the their claim of “journalistic objectivity.” The answers (among those who dared to respond) were often embarrassing.
Personally, I really don’t care if journalists give time or cash to political causes. It’s a free country, and they are citizens just like me, so they should be allowed to trumpet whatever cause they want. All I ask for in return is two things:
(1) Don’t lie to me and pretend that you’re an “objective journalist” who “doesn’t take sides.” Everybody takes sides, buddy, so just step up and admit it.
(2) Make more than a token effort to give exposure to other points of view besides your own. Create an atmosphere of truly open and lively debate, and let the viewer/reader learn from the exchange.
It’s not the fact that journalists have biases that bothers people. It’s the haughty, self-righteous — and laughable — claim of impartiality, while closing the door on other points of view, that is so disgusting.
Maybe, just maybe, they’re finally beginning to get the message.
UPDATE: Captain Ed shares my take on this story.