The Daily Caller’s revelation that hundreds of liberal journalists, professors, and activists had participated in an ongoing dialogue with one another lamenting the treatment of candidate Barack Obama throughout the 2008 presidential election has left an unsettling impression in its wake. Not surprising is the notion that traditional media outlets and those within academia have long seemed at least tacitly inclined toward a left-of-center position. Surprising, however, was the extent to which acrimony toward conservatives and outright enthusiasm for liberals distinguished the online correspondence to which many participants within the discussion group known as Journolist engaged.
Our nation has long obtained its information from public sources. While neutrality was certainly scarce throughout the early days of journalism in America, as rival political parties echoed their positions through the use of their respective publications, the profession had evolved into one where impartiality and professional integrity became increasingly valued. As such, the publication of credible information offered distinct advantages to a public reliant upon its veracity.
In a free, open and democratic society where the people greatly influence the affairs of government, information is of great import. The direction by which public sentiment flows is largely predicated on the information obtained through public sources. When the veracity of that information appears dubious it should mark a moment of collective concern among the people, irrespective of their ideological leanings.
When an individual is unapologetic and open about their political persuasions it is neither extraordinary nor unexpected when the content of their work suggests an obvious political inclination. When an individual, however, operates under a veil of implied objectivity, as naturally one expects those deemed as “journalists” to operate, the fairness of their work should be presumed. It is when the distinction between journalism and partisan punditry becomes blurred that faith in the credibility of our system of information dissemination becomes corrupt. Echoing the concerns presented in the Daily Caller’s story Andrew Brietbart suggested that, “American journalism died today.”
Socrates declared that, “The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.”
In using their positions within the media to advance a partisan agenda while ostensibly working within the framework of journalistic integrity, those implicated in the Journolist scandal sacrificed both their credibility within the profession and the very integrity upon which one’s standing as a journalist rests.
Scott G. Erickson is an advocate of conservative, principled solutions to the issues facing America. He has worked to advance conservative priorities through coalition building and is an active participant in myriad organizations seeking to restore the foundational principles of America. A committed public servant, he has worked in the field of law enforcement for the past decade and holds both his B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice Studies. He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.