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 today?
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 Loth 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). Far too many do not do that! Career inevitably trumps truth… for journalists and all other careerists.
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 Clinton’s egregious, unpunished lying about the way how she handled classified government documents? Equality under the law? Equality in the eyes of so-called journalists? Isn’t Trump 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 be aware of that! And if she is 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 Clinton! 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 the struggle of such advocates and not report on their many stories. Amazingly, no result on the Boston Globe website appeared, for example, when I searched “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 very tactics are employed by Loth, Graham, and other so-called journalists of the Boston Globe! Let the Globe clean up its act before criticizing others for doing what it does!
Rather than focusing on protecting journalists, perhaps journalists ought to focus on eliminating their egregious biases and m.o. of constant backslapping and self-congratulating. They ought to focus on facts and reason and not oppose facts and reason when facts and reason counter bias. The Globe would not publish my challenge of Graham’s highly faulty reportage, nor would it respond regarding Loth’s. And so again, one is left with the highly nebulous term, “journalist.” What is a journalist? Well, Dan Kennedy, Associate Journalism Professor at Northeastern University, one of my alma maters, regards Loth as “…one of the city’s most accomplished journalists…” No definition needed, of course.
NB: Rather than swallow vacuous, undefined, and self-congratulating memes like “real journalism matters” (Washington Post), it is best that a citizen think and pose questions, as in what the hell is “real journalism”? Is it biased journalism? Is it identity-politics journalism? Is it not-reporting-on-certain-stories journalism? Is it rejecting of uncomfortable-facts-and- opinions journalism? Also, it is best that a citizen gain experience by actually testing the waters of journalism reality. The following are some of my tests. When I was a professor at Fitchburg State College (now university), the student newspaper, The Point, and the local newspaper, The Sentinel, both refused to report on my fight with the university. The Advocate refused to publish an account of my being attacked and robbed by three blacks in Baton Rouge. The Barnstable Patriot refused to publish my criticism of its praise for a candidate for a local Public Works position. The Cape Cod Times refused and still refuses to report on the permanent banning without warning or due process in 2012 of me from my neighborhood library, Sturgis Library. My very civil rights are being denied today because I am prohibited from attending any cultural or political events held there. As a rare open critic of its editor, Paul Pronovost, my opinions will never be published in that newspaper. The Provincetown Banner refused to publish my criticism of the Fine Arts Work Center of Provincetown and its use of poetry and art as a tourist magnet. The Boston Globe refuses to publish my criticism of its anti-white racist assistant editor/columnist Renee Graham, likely another "one of the city’s most accomplished journalists." Regarding college student editors, rarely will they publish criticism I send regarding their professors. Thus is the reality of journalism today...