I’ve done my fair share of media bashing. I have a particular anxiety about how journalism is practiced within the beltway and New York. But I take issue with this sentence from Prof. Reynolds:
If more journalists believed that their craft was that important, they’d be less willing to dilute it with efforts to shift opinion, wouldn’t they?
The implicit premise, as I take it, is that a good portion of journalists, if not most, practice a shaddy form of the profession, repeatedly infusing their reporting with political agendas.
I’ve worked at a variety of newspapers over the years, and freelanced for many more. I’ve been deeply involved in our professional organizations and I know reporters and editors all over the country. I can count on half of one hand the number of reporters I suspected of putting slant ahead of honest reporting.
As much as I am a critic of the beltway media, I would still bet that the majority of reporters there work hard to remain non-partisan observers.
That’s not to say that even good reporters don’t have blind spots to their own prejudices, but that’s very different from deliberate distortion, and I think even the blind spots are rarer than they seem.
I believe the vast majority of journalists care deeply about their craft, their ethics and their calling to be the eyes and ears of the people who depend on their reports.
It’s fine to bash bad reporting, but it’s a mistake, I think, to broadbrush the profession.