Media Union Urges Protest Against Republicans

Bradley J. Fikes Bradley J. Fikes 11 Comments

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Media Guild Endorses Anti-Republican Protests

Media Guild Endorses Anti-Republican Protests

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.

Pacific Media Workers Guild Members

Pacific Media Workers Guild Members

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?)

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(DISCLAIMER: This is my opinion, and not necessarily that of my employer, the North County Times).

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Comments 11

  1. For the sake of discussion, could you please explain how North County Times similarly handles your work at SDRostra?

    —————-

    (Look at the disclaimer on my articles at SD Rostra. My editors want to make sure my opinions are not confused with those of the North County Times. And I’ve long advocated that reporters disclose their opinions, so readers know where they’re coming from. Will the journalists taking part in the protest do the same? — Bradley)

  2. Please provide some more clarity with the question; not sure readers will understand what you are asking. Related to the disclaimer?

  3. Mr. Fikes has gone out of his way to applaud those
    City Beat articles he liked, to link to them, and to
    give them every credit here at SD Rostra.

    But when he goes against the prevailing Left-of-
    Center orthodoxy, his journalistic ethics are then
    put at issue [however ineffectively] …iwithin 2
    hours and 5 minutes of the original posting !

    There are some Lessons to be Learned from
    this exchange. As the great talk hose Dennis
    Prager says, “It is better to have Clarity than
    Agreement.”

    We have a lot more Clarity now about how
    things work.

  4. Post
    Author

    Dave Maass raised a valid point in a much needed-discussion, although I thought I had addressed it.

    In case I wasn’t clear enough, what I object to is the deception and hypocrisy of those who call themselves objective journalists, and yet write slanted stories that advance their agenda. I specifically exempted journalists like Dave, who writes for an openly advocacy publication, from criticism. Everyone knows where CityBeat is coming from. And yes, CityBeat has done some good journalism. May it keep doing so.

  5. Bradley, as long as you understand the question. We still don’t. Is the question wondering whether your articles for the North County Times should include, “This is my writing for my employer, the North County Times, and doesn’t necessarily relate to the opinions I write for San Diego Rostra in my spare time without any compensation”? LOL!!!

  6. Post
    Author

    TA,

    I discussed this issue a few years ago with my editor. He was mainly concerned that anything I write not be taken as representing the opinion of the North County Times.

    I think “objective” reporting is possible, but acknowledging one’s own biases is a necessary first step. One of the things blogs have taught me is that transparency about one’s own views is respectful to the reader, and can actually enhance one’s credibility.

    When I read a story with political implications, I want to know the reporter’s own politics, to help me judge whether the reporter’s “objective” work is echoing a personal agenda. I’m very dubious about the honesty of a reporter who writes about political issues, but claims not to have any personal political bias or opinion.

  7. My question wasn’t meant to disparage or call Fikes’ integrity into question. The issue is what to do when journalists engage in activism or advocacy or take a side in an issue.

    I understand that Fikes makes it clear in his posts on Rostra. I’m just curious what NC Times does on its end? Is there a policy by which he’s not allowed to write about certain issues for NC Times or must disclose in his NC Times stories that he has taken positions on it publicly on Rostra?

  8. The Media Guild represents most of the staff members at Northern California Labor Councils. It is not media writers, it is just a section of CWA that represents staff who historically wrote news articles for union newspapers within the Councils. So, your concerns in this example may be overblown.

  9. Post
    Author

    Dave,
    I’ve disclosed my personal views on a number of subjects, such as global warming, at my North County Times blog, at http://www.nctimes.com/app/blogs/wp/?cat=5.

    There is no restriction on what I write about, although the great majority of my writing has little to do with politics. If I were a mainly political writer and not a business/tech/health writer, things might be different.

  10. Thanks, Brad. You answered my question. I don’t know why it was such a big deal to everyone else.

  11. Post
    Author

    No worries, Dave. I am constantly urging reporters to be open about their views, and respond to questioning. If I took umbrage when questions are directed at me, that would be hypocritical.

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