Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (part 2)   1 comment

Los Angeles TimesLoved a piece in the Huffington Post this week. It reports that if the LA Times is sold to the “wrong people,” then half the staff will leave.

And “wrong,” in this case, is that if the new ownership smells like David and Charles Koch – firmly Libertarian – then the left-leaning staff doesn’t think they want to play anymore.

Chicago TribuneThe paper is a part of the Tribune Company, and the bankruptcy of that company has already had a severe impact on its eight papers: Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and Daily Press. The Tribune Company appears to want to sell off those publications, however, and who buys them – and whether or not they break up the group – will have many old school tongues a-wagging. You know, old school … because who really cares about newspapers these days, anyway?

What fascinates me is that there’s no discussion, apparently, about how the paper is already representing a political viewpoint … that’s just accepted.  Well, OF COURSE the LA Times is left-leaning. And if new ownership wants to change that, the staff just won’t stand for it.

So here’s my old school view.  Shouldn’t the first priority be reporting the truth, instead of a political view? Since when do journalists get to use their job as a personal political platform?

Please note, I’m not advocating that ownership gets to use their buckets of ink to advance a political platform, either. Rather, I’m advocating that we have an independent, free press that keeps the rest of us honest. Investigative reporting is not done by our government, and it’s not done by our military. It’s not done effectively by the blogosphere, either. It’s not done by anyone other than our free press, which is important to the strength of our republic.

The current LA Times staff found a way to publicly announce a straw poll conducted by an editor on the newsroom floor.  Perhaps it was intended as a pre-emptive positioner, meant to discourage the Kochs or any other non-left-leaning ownership group from buying the publication. After all, if the staff won’t work for anyone not with a left-leaning view, then the new owners might end up with an empty shell of a company with not enough people filling the desks of this premiere journalistic enterprise in LA.

To which I say, good. Fire’em all. Hire journalists whose first question is not the political persuasion of the owner, but rather, will the ownership have the resources necessary to tell the stories of most interest and relevance to their readers? Tell those stories, tell them truthfully … and ownership’s political persuasion is not that important. The LA Times was owned for four generations by the Chandler family … and they were conservative. And they were revered in this rather liberal community. Why? Because the strength of the newspaper, and the impartiality of the newspaper, was more important than the political persuasion of the owner.

As it should be.

Journalism, I mourn for thee.


Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (part 1)

Huffington Post: Half Of Staff Will Leave IF…

New York Times: Conservative Koch Brothers Making Play for Tribune’s Newspapers

Reuters: Who’s Afraid Of The Koch Brothers?

One response to “Journalism, I Mourn For Thee (part 2)

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  1. Pingback: Jounalism, I Mourn For Thee (Part 3) |

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