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March 1993


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 2 Mar 1993 23:52:48 -0500
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Michael K., I really enjoyed reading your message on the role of the reporter.
You said, among other things, the following:   "We (journalists) are
simply here to educate and inform. We do our jobs and duties of reporting
daily events to the mass public solely to is not our role to
persuade anyone...we have no right to do so."
That's good stuff, but it does require a bit of qualification, I think.
You're talking here for only a limited number of journalists, those that
report the news. There are others who offer an editorial function. They
have every right to try to persuade one to vote for Clinton or Bush, for
example. They have every right to praise or condemn Clinton's economic
plan, persuading us to support or oppose the program. I think what you
really mean is that journalists have no right to persuade subtly under
the guise of reporting the news. They have no right to present an unfair
account which will tend to advocate one position over another.
Even here, though, we must recognize this, I think: journalists DO have
a legal right to report one-sided and imbalanced pieces that will tend
to advocate. What they don't have is the MORAL right to do so. In any
case, I think you are very largely right in saying that journalists should
report rather than persuade.  Ernie.