Supposedly objective journalists are being encouraged by the Pacific Media Workers Guild to protest against Wisconsin Republicans for acting against “fundamental labor and human rights,” a.k.a. collective bargaining rights by public employee unions.
PMWG outlets include the San Francisco Chronicle; Contra Costa Times; San Jose Mercury News; Valley Times; Oakland Tribune; Sacramento Bee; Fresno Bee; Modesto Bee; Monterey County Herald and the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
That’s something to keep in mind when you’re reading the ‘objective’ journalism in these newspapers, or when hearing a pontifical lecture by an ‘objective’ journalist against the bias of all those pajama-clad bloggers. (Journalism by openly political news organizations is not included in this criticism, since they are not hypocritically pretending to be unbiased).
Here are some questions:
— Will reporters who write about labor issues or edit those stories be marching in this protest?
— Will the journalists in the protest give their real names, so we know where they’re coming from when reading their stories?
— What about the journalists in the union who oppose such a blatantly political agenda? Shouldn’t they be able to opt out of the union and keep their jobs?
— What will the editors of these papers do about this blatant call for partisanship? Or will they be marching too? (NOTE: I don’t think merely observing the protest is unethical for a supposedly objective journalist, only participation. I’d go watch it myself, although I utterly disagree with its aims).
— What will the publishers of these newspapers do? Will they forbid employees from marching in the protest? Or, like clueless Dean Singleton, will they ignore the ethical stench under their noses while they continue to bloviate about their allegedly valuable content? (And who would want to pay for such propaganda when there’s sites that provide it for free?)
(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, and not necessarily that of my employer, the North County Times).