Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor and media blogger, calls for journalists to come clean about their personal views and political leanings:
self-respecting journalists should consider it an obligation to be transparent. Self-respecting news organizations should be honest with their communities and reveal the aggregate perspectives of their staffs. It’s relevant.
We have the ethic of journalism exactly reversed from what it should be: Journalists should be the most open, the most transparent, a model of honesty.
Over at Collide-A-Scape, Keith Kloor asks whether the idea should apply to science journalists, as well as political reporters:
What about this? I assume Jarvis is referring to all journalists, not just political reporters. So I wonder how science journalists feel about this. Do they think it would be a good thing for journalism if they revealed who they voted for in an election?
What about the reader? Do you feel this is necessary? Also, would your perception of an article on climate change be influenced by your knowledge of the political orientation of the reporter?
It’s an interesting question. Many climate change bloggers make it perfectly clear where they stand, at least on climate and energy issues – denier, skeptic, hawk, etc.. And in such a polarized debate, where simply adhering to scientific consensus is considered a bias, it’s almost impossible to be universally perceived as objective. So is it worth the effort? Would owning up to political leanings clear the air for a more honest discourse? Or demolish the last possible avenue to respectful dialogue?