The Corner

PC Culture

More Journalists Who Don’t Understand Their Jobs

From The Hill:

Bloomingdale’s is reportedly removing a T-shirt with the words “Fake News” displayed on it after a reporter from New York posted a photo on Twitter.

Reporter Allison Kaden of Television station WPIX posted the image on Twitter Sunday tagging Bloomingdale’s and questioning the department store’s decision to sell the shirt with the phrase popularized by President Trump.

I got at this a little bit in my recent magazine piece on the press, but I’ll repeat the point here briefly: Most American journalists do not understand their jobs, nor do they understand the nature of their relationship with the First Amendment. As is clear from its language, and as the Supreme Court has made clear on a routine basis, the First Amendment applies to everyone — including, but not limited to, journalists. That is to say that journalists inherit the same speech rights as everyone else — no more, no less. They are not part of a special class. They are not part of a protected class. They do not need — nor should they receive — special treatment.

Allison Kaden, the journalist who made the original complaint, wrote,

Hey @Bloomingdales, this isn’t funny or fashionable. It further delegitimizes hard working journalists who bring REAL news to their communties. [sic]

Okay, let’s assume that’s true. So what? This is not a zero sum game, within which anything done by those who are not within The Press must be angrily evaluated by how it affects those who are within The Press. On the contrary: A healthy culture of speech is one in which everyone can speak without their critics demanding they be silenced. What Kaden did here represents a net loss for tolerance and for speech: In the name of protecting free expression, she demanded its limitation. And, somehow, she can’t see that.

Following up, a Baltimore Sun reporter named Pamela Wood scolded Bloomingdales for not apologizing obsequiously enough, writing:

Hi, @bloomingdales. Apologizing “for any offense we may have caused” is not a sincere apology. This is not about journalists’ hurt feelings. This is about damage done to our democracy when your brand joins in perpetuating and celebrating the idea of “fake news.” Please try again.

Bloomingdales is a private company and can, of course, do as it wishes. But it might consider next time that the only people doing “damage to our democracy” in this scenario are the people who believe that the clerisy to which they belong is so indispensable to the happiness of the people that any criticism or mockery of it is tantamount to the death of freedom itself.

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