Media Blog

The Return of Advocacy Journalism

The Washington Post’s Walter Reed stories. Lou Dobbs on immigration and free trade. Keith Olbermann’s “special comments”. USA Today’s Peter Johnson writes that all are part of a trend back to a kind of early twentieth-century advocacy journalism – which never went away, but rather donned the disguise of objectivity for a few decades. As Allah writes:

We can’t complain too much. We’ve always said we wanted them to admit their biases, and now they’re doing it; it’s just that they’re claiming to be biased towards “good” instead of left or right. And hey: every reporter off busying himself with exposing the evils of trans fats is one less available to expose the SWIFT program. Small favors, etc.

The best line in Johnson’s piece comes from NBC’s Ann Curry, whose reporting on Darfur Johnson used as another example of advocacy journalism: “It’s not always easy to be directed in this profession, which can be a profession of very sharp elbows. But my motives are pure. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m not afraid to say that out loud.”
The new advocacy journalists: Directed, Pure, and Unafraid, according to themselves.

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