Friday, October 19, 2018


So much of the way the press covers things is impacted by which issues are seen as political, where there are two sides in the political debate. Sometimes I see people being proud of their own or another reporter's work that does something like get a wrongly convicted person freed from prison. We all agree it's bad that people go to prison for crimes they didn't commit, right? So it's good when they're freed! Good job, journalism!

But what about when one major political party decides well, no, locking up people (some people, anyway) who didn't commit crimes is actually good, that it provides a good deterrent effect that outweighs the injustice, and these dogooder "journalists" who are getting innocent people released are causing a lot of problems in society. At the very least the reporting didn't *prove* innocence, and undermining the actions of those fine members of the jury and of our wonderful boys in blue is actually a very bad thing to do. Mistakes are made, and that's a necessary part of the sanctity of our justice system (conservative judges basically make this argument sometimes).

Maybe those journalists would still do those stories, but they'd stop short of feeling like they could congratulate themselves for what the story led to... the release of an innocent person. It might still be news, but "objectivity" would require not having an opinion about the highly controversial consequence of that news.

So I chuckle a little bit whenever I see journalists patting themselves on the back for some "supposed" injustice that their reporting helped to correct. Because next week the rules might change, and then will need to hear both sides of the "are Nazis good?" question, and properly ethical journalists won't have an opinion on that.