Monday, March 29, 2004

Two Rules

I would be sympathetic to those who thought it was right for Phil Bronstein of the SF Chronicle to forbid two journalists who had a same-sex marriage from covering that story if they ever thought it important to apply those standards across the board. Consider what David Shaw from the LA Times says:

We in the media are deluding ourselves if we think the public automatically accepts our simple assertion that we can report fairly on issues we not only feel strongly about but are personally involved in.

He later goes on to ask this question:

I suppose the closest analogy to the Chronicle case would be a reporter who had an abortion covering abortion. Here too there's a difference, though. The woman may not have chosen to get pregnant — and, once pregnant, she has to do something, either have the baby or have an abortion.

Well, or a pregnant woman who chose not to have an abortion covering abortion. Why not phrase it that way? Since when is having an abortion a controversial act?

He then says:

However the courts ultimately decide, would readers be likely to trust the Chronicle's coverage of the story if they knew that Gordon and Mangelsdorf stood to gain, or lose, personally by that decision?

How about all of those highly paid journalists covering Bush's tax cuts? They surely stood to gain or lose?

Should we only allow people whose sons and daughters wouldn't go off to war cover the march to war? After all, they have no personal stake?

How about devout Christians who taught for an organization whose mission is, in part:

There is one primary reason why the World Journalism Institute should be committed to the education of young journalists: it comes directly from the need to be faithful to the Christian example of accurately reporting (e.g., being reliable eyewitnesses) the work of God in today's world.

Should the LA Times let them write articles about gay marriage, particularly when the parent group of that organization has extreme and explicity anti-gay views? Or, more specifically, why is the LA Times letting such people (cough Roy Rivenburg cough) write such articles?