Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Are Bloggers Journalists?

(c) 2012 by Tom King

(c) Some rights reserved by Andrew Currie
You know, I kind of resent that question.  I'm kind of tired of journalist trying to get themselves up in white robes and to masquerade as some sorts of informational holy men.

The idea that journalists are unbiased news priests, delivering information without opinion is absolute balderdash. If you are a person you have an opinion. Merriam-Webster says a journalist is a "person engaged in journalism, especially a writer or editor for a news medium. Webster also says "a writer who aims at a mass audience" is a journalist.

By that second definition, bloggers are definitely journalists. Surely, Americans with our long history of freedom of the press, are sophisticated enough to realize that every journalist out there is pitching the news according to his own conscience, editing information to tell a story he or she wants to tell. That's Journalism 101. Sure they tell you to be unbiased and then propagandize you shamelessly, usually with leftist opinions, though there are a few conservative and moderate journalism professors out there who have managed to keep their jobs, if not to actually gain tenure.

The fiction that all true journalists are unbiased is just that - fiction! A journalist is a writer of news - that is all. Even if you choose to be "fair and balanced", choose to show an even-handed look at the news as best you can, all that means is that you believe in making news as moderate or independent as you can. It is still your opinion that this is the best way to present the news.

Even journalism icon, Walter Cronkite was obviously and unapologetically progressive in his leanings, though he did his best to appear neutral when he was sitting in the anchor's chair at CBS news. Everybody knew what Uncle Walter thought by how he selected the news clips he presented. It was as much what he didn't say as what he did say. He was brilliant and while I disagreed with him on many fundamental issues, you had to respect the guy's integrity.  He never took his talking points from the DNC or the RNC. No political icon was immune if Uncle Walter thought said politico was doing wrong as poor old LBJ found out to his utter dismay. Cronkite's opinion was always his own.

The belief that you should present an unbiased opinion differs not a whit in moral superiority from Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews who believe news should be interpreted from a liberal/progressive viewpoint or from Sean Hannity or John Stossel, who believe that a conservative interpretation is the correct way to spin it. Whether the journalist is a liberal, conservative or so-called "unbiased" moderate; whether he or she is a reporter, editor, blogger or a TV news anchor, what you receive from these folk, never forget, is information molded by an opinionated journalist to suit his personal value system or that of the folk that write his or her paycheck. Given that....

Opinion is damned well too journalism!

And bloggers are damned well too journalists!

Beyond that, it's just a matter of quality.

Just one blogger's opinion....

Tom King


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