Beliefnet
Everyday Ethics

Most of us have a love/hate
relationship with the media…sometimes we love it, sometimes we hate it (and
sometimes I love to hate how I’m a part of it). Still, one of the fundamentals
of most democratic societies are the voices that speak to us under the banner of
the free press, and I’d maintain that the majority of us have some basic faith
in the institution.
 
At least I do (have a bit of faith),
so I was disappointed when I found out a friendly acquaintance of mine didn’t
vote. Refused to vote. Now, that’s bad enough — what pushed me over the edge
was the fact that she is a political reporter! She wasn’t only failing in her
duty as a citizen (in my opinion), she was falling down on her
job
.
 
However, she defended her decision
not to vote, saying that this was the only way for her to maintain her
credibility and write from an unbiased viewpoint. 
 
No offense to her ( and I might lose a
friendly acquaintance if she’s reading this), but I call B.S. on that defense.
 
Objective reporting is at the core of
journalism, and responsible journalists will go to their grave writing in this
manner in order to protect their Holy Grail of credibility. But objectivity does not come from removing yourself from the daily lives of the masses, it comes with a certain determination and mindset. Being a journalist does not mean you get a free pass from life.

I would argue that
every journalist must learn and perfect the art of objectivity, despite their
personal beliefs and ideals. Sure, these days it’s a skill often found lacking in mainstream media outlets — depending on your political views, you can look to CNN or
Fox News as an example.  Still, objectivity is something to strive for as a professional journalist , regardless of your life as a private
citizen.

 
What do you think? Should journalists
be excused from such activities as voting in order to maintain their
credibility? Or is that just an easy (and lazy) excuse?
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