The Biased Journalist

The other day I got my first pinup tattoo. It’s not the sort of thing I normally get tattooed. Thus far, my tattoos are a lot of rootsy Irish-Anglo stuff (with the exception of my GONZO half sleeve). But maybe I’ve gone too far. I have no real reason to get a pinup style tattoo. Despite how much I love it, I’ve been looking at it and wondering what communism means. 

The tattoo itself is of a WWII-era female soldier in a Russian uniform. She sits cross legged with an old Mosin-nagant rifle cradled in her arms. The hammer and sickle is placed neatly between her boots.  My grandfather had sympathies with the Communist Party, despite his service in the Korean War. But where are my allegiances?

I can only claim allegiance to the truth. In the profession of journalism, this is similar to swearing allegiance to the flag and Constitution as a soldier. Since the events with Edward Snowden, and even with Pfc. Bradley Manning, I keep wondering if such a pact to the truth is right. Is the truth right? 

My formal education in journalism tells me that you report nothing but the truth. But the more I learn about journalism, the more agenda setting I see.Image

I recently studied the first abolitionist newspapers in the U.S. Though the editors and writers didn’t have a large circulation, they reported false and defamatory information about pro-slavery people and southern states.

Today, I see another bias. Instead of advocating abolition, editors, reporters, bloggers, etc. are advocating government transparency and freedom of information. Journalists are just as passionate as novel writers – but where is the line? As awful as slavery and government censorship/confidentiality are, the bias feels sacrilegious. This is only me playing the devil’s advocate. 

I understand the FOI writers have a vision for a free world, just as their predecessors did with the abolitionist press. But I find myself thinking of Rorschach’s quote from Watchmen:

Never compromise. Not even in the face of Armageddon.

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