His latest sting is yet more evidence that pretending reporters have no opinions or biases is no longer tenable
Here's how Brooke Gladstone, host of the NPR show On the Media, summed up one obligation of professional journalists: "Checking your life at the door is -- at least for now -- a condition for working at traditional media news outlets. When I interviewed Lianne Hanson as she retired from her host job, she said she was looking forward to being able to express herself freely and publicly in the world." Is this a smart norm? It isn't, I argued in a recent post, and I want to return to it, because subsequent events have only reinforced the point.
"It may seem like a good idea to avoid the 'perception of bias' by insisting that media employees hide who they are from the audience. Perhaps it was once even tenable," I wrote. "It no longer is. To build your credibility on viewlessness is to concede, every time an employee of yours is shown to be a sentient, opinionated person, that your credibility has taken a hit. To tout and enforce your viewlessness is to hold your own reputation hostage to reality; it makes your credibility, the most valuable thing you have, vulnerable to every staffer's Tweet, or incriminating Facebook photograph, or inane James O'Keefe hidden video sting operation. She claims to be neutral, but look, while out at a dinner with friends we caught her on camera saying that she thinks Obama is a better president than was Bush. See! She was hiding her liberal views from us all along!"