Shy of a Load
Let’s not go postal, it’s not a trend, according to the Poynter Institute on Aug. 26-27 in “Before Today, 8 Journalists Have Been Murdered While on Assignment, at Work or for Their Work in the U.S. Since 1992.”
Writer Kristen Hare states: “The on-air shooting deaths of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and videographer Adam Ward on Wednesday morning in Virginia marks the first two deaths of journalists in the United States since 2007.”
Make no mistake, this was a terrible terrible tragedy, personally for those involved and their friends and community, along with the consequences it could have — should have — along with results that won’t happen anytime soon, like stronger gun control and more accessible mental health care.
As befitting our culture, this is the media saying, It’s all about me me me, and we in the viewing audience learn the facts and see the video clips — or avoid them, as I have — and respond with due horror.
Meanwhile, other workplace violence doesn’t get reported widely any more or go viral.
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This Glenn Greenwald piece, “Jorge Ramos Commits Journalism, Gets Immediately Attacked by Journalists,” got read and then reread by me to pull more from it. I don’t dwell on periodical pieces that closely, usually.
The critics’ slam on Ramos is that he is not a real journalist but a newscaster, one with opinions.
To which journalist Greenwald responds in part:
“A Good Journalist must pretend they have no opinions, feign utter indifference to the outcome of political debates, never take any sides, be utterly devoid of any human connection to or passion for the issues they cover, and most of all, have no role to play whatsoever in opposing even the most extreme injustices.
“Thus: you do not call torture ‘torture’ if the U.S. government falsely denies that it is; you do not say that the chronic shooting of unarmed black citizens by the police is a major problem since not everyone agrees that it is; and you do not object when a major presidential candidate stokes dangerous nativist resentments while demanding mass deportation of millions of people.”
As a newly freelance ethicist, I want to note that most good journalism must remain of the just-the-facts straight ahead sort. We Americans need information. Yet for the whole democracy thing to work, the circus tent of journalism both historically and today must admit adversarial, advocacy or activist journalism.