My Arizona State University journalism professor would have kicked me out of class had I espoused the fundamental misunderstanding of a journalist’s role that’s come from the keyboards of nationally known “journalists” over the past two days.
Today, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, in a column about why Sen. MCain is still very much in this race, clearly is unconcerned and unphased by the “fawning” news coverage Sen. Obama has received during this campaign (emphasis is mine):
Obama has outspent McCain on TV advertising three or four to one (though McCain is matching him in some key states here at the end). Obama has four thousand paid organizers in key states, an unheard of number. Most voters think that McCainâ€™s running mate is not qualified to be president. Many people wonder aloud if McCain is in fact too old (72) to be president. Much of the media coverage of Obama has been fawning to say the least, and with good reason. He is one of the most winsome, charismatic candidates to have appeared on the scene in decades.
Still, in todayâ€™s â€œtraditional Gallupâ€ Daily Tracking Poll (the one that screens likely voters most rigorously, based on past votes), Obama leads McCain by only two percentage points, 49 to 47 percent.
Fineman’s column follows on the heels of this Politico column by John Harris and Jim Vandehei — headlined appropriately as follows:
Why McCain is getting hosed in the press
Bottom line from Harris and Vandehei is — get this — the biased coverage is McCain’s fault.
If “journalists” want to be advocates, which this election cycle has clearly demonstrated, then they should have the guts to say they are advocates for a particular viewpoint. Their stories and ideas can then be judged fairly and openly in the marketplace of ideas based on that viewpoint.
Transparency and honesty — that’s the least the public deserves.
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