While we’re talking about what is journalism and who is a journalist, anyone else catch this quote in yesterday’s Plain Dealer article?
“Louis Colombo, a media lawyer in Baker & Hostetler’s Cleveland office, agreed [with a KSU professor’s assertion that the debate around who is a journalist will affect journalist shield laws, which “could be broadened so much that the legislature steps in and does something about it. Seldom is that ever good.”]. He said mainstream media provide a checks-and-balances system with editors and producers overseeing reporters.”
Yes, well, that “overseeing” is also called censorship, or, at least, can lead to what is called censorship, which is one of the reasons why regular folks are turning to the Internet and other alternative sources of news and information: because they want to read the raw information for themselves. Because readers are smarter than much of the MSM allows. Because readers, voters, individuals, want to make their own decisions about what is fact and what is truth.
Why this push to decide for themselves? Because MSM outlets aren’t providing enough, or what they are providing isn’t ringing true, or because people are fed up with the knowledge that there is always, or so it feels, so much more to a story. And, though of course not all the time, they – we – the readers – are correct: there IS so much more.
Well, now comes this commentary in Women’s eNews:
Editorial artists who dare to draw cartoons and comics espousing abortion rights can face difficulty getting published. The disturbing trend offers more evidence of a rightward lurch by the U.S. media. The shift became apparent after Republicans won Congress in 1994. The boot-licking increased when George W. Bush took office and it only intensified after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Whether recent Democratic victories significantly embolden the mainstream press remains to be seen.
Although the commentary tips its hat to the anti-abortion movement’s tactics, it says that the MSM has helped it along, with an implication that that help isn’t warranted (and obviously more evidence that those editors and publishers doing the “overseeing” Prof. Colombo points to are, in fact, leaving out opinions held by others and thus influencing the news and info people can access through their medium):
The anti-abortion forces–rebranded as the sunnier sounding “pro-life” movement–deserve their due for relentless and effective proselytizing. But they have had help spreading the message. An analysis by the American Prospect found that from March 2004 to March 2006 the influential New York Times op-ed page went out of its way to give a platform to foes of legal abortion.
“Not one op-ed discussing abortion on the op-ed page of the most powerful liberal paper in the nation was written by a reproductive-rights advocate, a pro-choice service-provider or a representative of a women’s group,” reported the Prospect. “Instead, the officially pro-choice New York Times has hosted a conversation about abortion on its op-ed page that consisted almost entirely of the views of pro-life or abortion-ambivalent men, male scholars of the right and men with strong, usually Catholic, religious affiliations. In fact, a stunning 83 percent of the pieces appearing on the page that discussed abortion were written by men.”
Editors and publishers, like bloggers, can choose whatever material they want. I don’t argue with that. But to suggest that the fact that an editor or publisher can and does exercise the option to publish or not publish something makes him or her a journalist and excludes every other type of news dissemination as being able to be called journalism simply fails to comport with reality.
They know it, we know it and more and more readers know it, which is one of the reasons why they are reading certain media less and less, and other media more and more.