America’s Least Wanted
I guess if you don’t know what the fuck your job is you can’t be expected to do it right.
How many times have you heard a member of the news media say that it is their duty to hold government accountable?
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is taking a stand in response to President Trump’s public slamming of CNN reporter Jim Acosta on Wednesday.
“The President of the United States is undermining American democracy,” said NAHJ president Hugo Balta. “Our association will commit to holding this administration accountable for any harm they cause to all journalists by these types of incessant attacks.”
The associated continued to say it condemns Trump’s constant harassing of journalists.
“Following two relentless years of rhetoric in an attempt to cause distrust for political gain, there is no indication Trump will lessen his affronts on the media. As journalists we must continue our commitment to our freedom and an unwavering pursuit of truth. We have a duty to hold government accountable and cannot tolerate those that target our journalists who are upholding the First Amendment.”
Orly? Where does it say that in the Constitution? If you have a duty then who holds YOU accountable? Can you provide a few examples of journalists who were punished for failing to report a story? It’s hard enough to get a reporter held accountable for getting a story wrong. If you are a politician in most cases you can’t even sue them for defamation when they publish lies about you.
Ruben Navarrette Jr.:
Let me tell you something you already know: At the moment, the media are a mess.
It’s time to send out a search party, because we’ve completely lost our way. We went from covering the world to thinking the world revolves around us. We used to hunt for the story; today, we make ourselves the story. Our primary job is to hold the powerful accountable when they do wrong, but never before has there been such a need to hold us accountable for what we get wrong.
Oh, Ruben, you were so close. Missed it by *that* much. YOUR PRIMARY JOB IS TO REPORT THE NEWS.
It is only a job if you are getting paid to do it. And if you are getting paid to do it then whatever duty you may have is owed to your employer, not the people. Reporting the news is either an occupation or a hobby, it is not a profession. You do not belong to a priesthood. You are not given any special privileges nor is anyone obligated to answer your questions.
Theoretically, voters hold politicians accountable. Judges and juries can also keep politicians in check. Sometimes other politicians can take action. Voters can hold politicians accountable primarily by voting them out of office. The tools available to voters for enforcing accountability include:
3. Donations and/or endorsements.
But journalists can still play an important role in holding politicians accountable. That role (still not a duty) is to observe and report. They can also report the observations made by others. In order to fulfill that role, journalists have to be objective, accurate, and thorough. If a reporter receives conflicting information he either needs to resolve the conflict or present all sides fairly. If a journalist is given 10 different versions of what took place it is not his/her job to decide which one is telling the truth.
Last but not least they need to separate facts from opinion. As Joe Friday always says, “Just the facts, ma’am.” But since most journalists are human they all have biases and opinions. The best way to ensure accuracy is an adversarial system like one used by our legal profession.
The weak link in all human affairs is humans. No human should ever be given power unless they can be held accountable for when, where, and how they wield it.