Ed Driscoll

When Reporters Value ‘Justice’ Over Accuracy, Journalism Loses

As Jeff Jacoby spots in the Boston Globe, “Journalists, says Jorge Ramos, shouldn’t make a fetish of accuracy and impartiality:”

Speaking last month at the International Press Freedom Awards, Univision’s influential news anchor told his audience that while he has “nothing against objectivity,” journalism is meant to be wielded as “a weapon for a higher purpose: justice.” Of course, he continued, it is important to get the facts right — five deaths should be reported as five, not six or seven. But “the best of journalism happens when we, purposely, stop pretending that we are neutral and recognize that we have a moral obligation to tell truth to power.”

As it happens, Ramos delivered those remarks soon after the publication of Sabrina Rubin Erdely’s 9,000-word story in Rolling Stone vividly describing the alleged gang rape of a freshman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity party. Erdely had reportedly spent months researching the story, and its explosive impact was — at first — everything a tell-truth-to-power journalist could have wished: national attention, public outrage, campus protests, suspension of UVA’s fraternities, and a new “zero-tolerance” policy on sexual assault.

Of course, one can find examples of every area of journalism in which leftwing industry publications and industry spokesmen have called for the abandonment of objectivity. For Ramos, it’s to advance socialism through the amnesty of illegal immigrants, through others, it’s to advance socialism through pushing the theme of “climate change.” In 2008, old media seemed like the second coming of Beatlemania-struck preteen girls over Barack Obama. In 2009 and 2010, ostensibly “objective” network TV news readers openly plumped for higher taxes and socialized medicine. The MSM in general loves to transform local crime stories into National Conversations on Race — with plenty of “Mostly Peaceful” riots along the way. For others, the quest for nihilism is advanced via aggressively socialist justice warriors in the reporting of videogames and sports.

And speaking of which, NBC’s low-rated pariah network MSNBC is thinking of covering or running sports in an effort to boost ratings. Or perhaps to find a home for Bob Costas in-between massively politicized halftime lectures on Sunday Night Football. (An earlier, funnier Saturday Night Live would be rubbing their hands together in anticipation of writing sketches along the lines of “Al Sharpton’s Sports Machine.” But then, like the rest of NBC, SNL became palace guard comics long ago.)