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Is it true you're that either an activist or a journalist?

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I've been "accused" over the years of being an "activist" and not a "journalist." What I think my accusers meant by that was that activists are biased and not necessarily truthful, while journalists were objective and tell the truth.

A few problems with this argument. First, I've talked to more than my share of journalists and they all have political beliefs, most as strong as mine, so how does that make me biased and them objective simply because I let my political leanings hang out and they keep theirs to themselves?

Second, why are being an activist and a journalist mutually exclusive? This came up in the context of CNN's Lou Dobbs going after the Dubai Ports. CBS News' blog quoted a media observer making the following point:

"To me, you're either an advocate or a journalist. You shouldn't pretend to be both."
Now, I don't pretend to be an expert on the history of journalism, but I did watch the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck" yesterday. It's about CBS reporter Edward R. Murrow taking on red-scare-baiting Senator Joseph McCarthy. Now, I don't pretend to be as great as Edward R. Murrow, though I can certainly aspire. But much of what he had to say to and about McCarthy reminded me of a lot of what we do on the blogs, and in our activism work, every day.

And to take this off of myself, how did Murrow's public criticism of McCarthy differ in any way from Lou Dobbs' criticism of the Dubai deal? I can't find any difference.

What's unfortunate, and what I think is really going on here, is that FOX News and other Republican surrogates have so prostituted what it means to be a journalist - including using real prostitutes as journalists - that any journalist with an opinion is now suspect. The GOP sycophants have so crossed the line into pro-government propaganda that anyone who tries to criticize government is considered equally, if not more, suspect.

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