What Is a Journalist?
The fundamental flaw in journalist Renee Loth’s Boston Globe op-ed, “Julian Assange may be a hero to some, but he’s no journalist,” is its failure to define what precisely constitutes a journalist. Does egregious bias define journalist?
Loth argues, “Full stop, please. Assange is many things: swashbuckling egotist, gleeful disrupter of the status quo, unwanted guest of the Ecuadorean government holed up in its London embassy. But a hard-working journalist he is not.”
Does Loth believe that disrupting the corrupt “status quo” is a bad thing—is something “hard-working” journalists do not do/are not supposed to do? Well, it seems so. Ideology can blind journalists like her to the point where they cannot see their faults, even when egregious. A journalist like her ought to avoid using highly-subjective terms like “egotist.” Journalists should stick to facts, reason, objectivity, and equality of treatment (e.g., for blacks and whites/for Democrats and Republicans).
Loth argues, “Quite apart from the question of whether the United States should prosecute Assange for publishing classified government documents — and I think it would set a dangerous precedent at a time when press freedoms are under attack by the president himself — we need to draw some distinctions between his methods and those of mainstream reporters.”
Well, what about Hillary’s egregious, unpunished lying about the way how she handled classified government documents and the highly dubious nature of her foundation? Equality under the law? Equality in the eyes of so-called journalists? Moreover, perhaps Trump is justified in attacking the highly-biased journalists who constantly attack him.
Loth argues, “WikiLeaks receives and distributes raw data, some of it damaging personal information of no legitimate public interest, and then sits back and enjoys the fallout.” And yet who defines what constitutes “no legitimate public interest”? The Democrat Party? Journalist shills for the Democrat Party? The concept of “public interest” is highly nebulous and can be highly partisan indeed. Loth ought to know that! And if she does then why does she not mention it?
At least Loth stipulates a fact, though reluctantly: “Although Assange is a hero to many who advocate government transparency, and although he won Australia’s highest journalism honor in 2011, to my (admittedly old-school) mind, he’s an activist.” Does part of that old-school mind include biased reporting? Are not most of the journalists at the Boston Globe essentially “activists” for the Democrat Party? After all, the Globe openly endorsed Hillary! How can journalists who endorse one political candidate over another possibly be objective? Isn’t Loth an “activist” against Trump? Loth seems to argue that journalists who are “activists” are not journalists. In that sense, she self-incriminates!
Loth argues, “Assange doesn’t generally do the tedious work of cross-checking documents, interviewing sources, seeking official responses, and providing expert analysis. That isn’t the WikiLeaks model.” Well, apparently, it isn’t the Boston Globe model either. Cite Assistant Editor Renee Graham’s highly racist rant against the white teenagers of Covington Catholic High School (see https://wwwtheamericandissidentorg.blogspot.com/2019/01/renee-graham.html). Did Graham bother to do any research at all? In fact, it seems she purposefully ignored the research done by others and stands by her highly faulty account even today. No apology at all was ever issued!
Loth states, “Yes, WikiLeaks has been declared a media organization by a tribunal in the United Kingdom, strengthening the claim that Assange deserves protections afforded working journalists, but US laws regarding press freedom are different from Britain’s.” And yet why should judges have the power to decide whether or not one is a journalist? Loth ought to have posed that very question. Corrupt, highly-biased judges exist! Why should they have the right to make such a determination?
Loth concludes, “This has been a brutal few weeks in a brutal decade for journalism." Well, it has also been a brutal decade for free-speech advocates, due partially to journalists like Loth and Graham who choose to ignore their struggle and not report on their many stories. Amazingly, no result on the Boston Globe website appeared, for example, when I plugged in “elisabeth sabaditsch-wolff.” Do Globe journalists like Loth even know who she is? And if not, why not?
Loth argues, “The tactics employed by Assange — which blur or eliminate the lines between news, propaganda, activism, and spying — only embolden true authoritarian regimes to imprison, torture, and kill journalists. Let’s focus on protecting them.” Again, those tactics are employed by Loth, Graham, and other so-called journalists of the Boston Globe. Let them clean up their act before criticizing others for doing what they do! Rather than focusing on protecting journalists, perhaps journalists ought to focus on eliminating their egregious biases and need for constant self-congratulations. They ought to focus on facts and reason and not oppose facts and reason when facts and reason counter biases. The Globe would not publish my challenge of Graham’s highly faulty reportage. It will surely not publish my challenge of Loth’s either.
And so again, we are left with the highly nebulous term, journalist. What is a journalist? Loth fails to define the term…