Getting To Know You
It is understood that elected officials are subject to media scrutiny, because they are in a position to influence public policy.
In the recent John Roberts confirmation hearings, time and time again, it was noted that because an appointment to the Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment, it is imperative that as much information as possible be made available to the public, so that informed decisions can be made.
SC&A have been thinking about this and we are greatly troubled.
If public officials are subject to scrutiny because they are in a position to influence public policy, then why aren't journalists subject to the same scrutiny? They too, are in a powerful position to influence the public and public opinion. Should not they too, be subject to the same scrutiny as others that can have so much influence?
The New York Times and The Washington Post, for example, regard themselves as the final arbiters on the meaning and motives behind government decisions. Their editorials are meant to influence readers. Shouldn't we be aware of who those editors are, and what their politics are? If a reporter comes to certain conclusions and reports on them, isn't it appropriate for us to know on what they base those conclusions? Shouldn't we know about their affiliations?
Many in the media will say that while they do have bias, they are fair. Could not the same be said about politicians? Irrespective of the party they belong to, all would say that they put the interest of the country ahead of party politics. Clearly, the media do not ascribe to that idea. If so, why should we believe that the media- who are not elected and are under no such obligation- are somehow able or even willing to put aside partisan ideologies?
If you are in a position to influence public opinion- and clearly, that has become the journalistic mandate, clearly, we have the right to know who you are.