Sunday, April 23, 2006

No double standards

Just a brief comment this morning . . .
The Hiltzik debacle (see below) adds more fuel to the argument on media bias. Some people say the ideal of objectivity is false, others can't agree what it is.

My own personal view is that a good working definition of objectivity is no double standards. Think of principles of good journalism, and apply them everywhere. That means one doesn't change the rules depending upon whose ox is Gored. (or Bushed).

The Hiltzik meltdown is a good example of this in practice. Journalists of all political stripes need to adhere to ethical standards, such as not taking payola and not deceiving people.

Hiltzik, a strident foe of conservatives, committed the latter offense by his sock puppetry (see below). He made up Internet identities to defend himself and attack critics. Aside from the sheer pathos of a Pulitzer Prize winner inventing imaginary allies, the action shows a lack of integrity.

Michael Fumento, a strident foe of liberals, was discredited by his acceptance and continued (fruitless) solicitation of payola. See Cathy Seipp here and my own take here.

Fumento whined that he was the victim of a liberal "witch hunt" and that he did nothing wrong. Only the most partisan right-wingers bought the argument. (BTW, Fumento has been accused by Tim Lambert of doing sock puppetry. Fumento has tried to ridicule the allegations. But in light of Fumento's unethical behavior, which he still defends, his word is worthless).

Payola and sock puppetry are violations of journalistic ethics. I hope journalists of all political stripes are paying attention.

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