Thursday, June 21, 2007

Journalists and politics

When critics claim journalists are biased, it's things like this that make it hard to refute:

MSNBC's Bill Dedman searched Federal election campaign donations, and found Journalists dole out cash to politicians (quietly). There's a list of 144 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign; you can browse the list yourself.

Among the journalists found: The Miami Herald's Harry Broetjes, a copy editor; and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel sports columnist Ethan Skolnik. And, surprisingly, New York Times' Randy Cohen, ethics columnist. Lots of TV reporters and producers, magazine editors and writers too. Even a news librarian from the Boston Herald: "Donnelly, who now works for a database company, said he thought of himself as a librarian, not a journalist, although he worked for the news department. He said he didn't know the paper's policy."

Ooops. A long way from the policies that most newspapers, at least, propose to uphold: The Miami Herald's Tom Fiedler once forbade reporters to attend a Bruce Springsteen concert/fundraiser, and The Washington Post's Len Downie says journalists should not even vote.

And then there are the opinions expressed for all to read: big to-do this week over a column on Scooter Libby by The Washington Post's Richard Cohen: Glenn Greenwald calls it "a true tour de force in explaining the function of our Beltway media stars."
Said Cohen:
...government officials should not lie to grand juries, but neither should they be called to account for practicing the dark art of politics. As with sex or real estate, it is often best to keep the lights off.

Says Greenwald:
...the overriding allegiance of our permanent Beltway ruling class is to the royal court which accords them their status and prestige. That overarching allegiance overrides, easily, any supposed partisan, ideological or other allegiances which, in their assigned roles, they are ostensibly defending.
...Our media stars have not merely stood idly by while our highest government officials engage in endless deceit and corruption. They actively defend it, enable it, justify it, and participate in it.

Ah, for the good old days...or were they?

(...And, don't get me started on that 'librarian, not journalist' thing...)

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