The Unbridled Pragmatist
smart enough to know how dumb we are

Politics & Loyalties

 The question of personal loyalties affecting journalism is quite short sighted; there is no denying that loyalties will affect journalism.  A person has certain inherent loyalties and regardless of the effort put into restraining these efforts loyalties will pervade.  The more important question is if reporters should remove personal loyalties? 

Personal makeup is a strong part of reporting that should not be removed.  A black reporter will have a different perspective on events than a white reporter, just as a male reporter will have a different perspective than a female.  These biases and loyalties should not be removed, if nothing else because they cannot.  The lens a person sees the world through will always shade according to the vision of the individual. 

These personal loyalties should not allow for personal trailblazing or profiteering.  Stories should be developed and assigned without thought of loyalty or bias, allowing the reporting to speak.  Quality journalism means the media as watchdog acting in the best interest of the public; when this occurs personal loyalties will appear but should not influence the piece. 

There is heightened importance in political reporting that personal loyalties be apparent yet not influential.  In reading George Will his personal loyalties and ideologies are apparent but never do they skew facts or statistics, the same is true for Eleanor Clift whose loyalties and ideologies are quite the opposite from Will.  Political reporting requires the highest ethics as it is the means for millions of people to determine and exercise the most fundamental function of democracy: voting. 

Much was learned from the 2000 presidential elections, perhaps the most important lesson though was the early reports of the Florida results.  Viewers were led to believe the polls had closed at 7 pm with Gore victorious when in fact portions of the state did not close polls until 8 pm.  Viewers were misled and thousands of voters, perhaps as high as 15,000, never went to the polls due to the oversight.  This controversy was embedded in much of the cantankerous debate that ensued.  Although personal loyalties had little or nothing to do with these false reports the importance of accuracy and ethical decision making in political journalism cannot be stressed enough.

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