I was fired from my journalism job ten days into Trump
Lewis Wallace
2.5K283

I feel bad that you lost your job. Based on your post, however, it sounds like your boss may have been doing you a favor.

Reading your blog post, it seems to me that you could be a very good journalist, but that it’s not what you want right now. What you want is to be a commentator. To suit up and get engaged in the fight going on in the country right now. To help people formulate their opinions on the issues of the day. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s commentary, not journalism.

I also feel bad that you feel that “objectivity is dead” and that “neutrality isn’t real.” Neutrality IS real. The fact that any media outlet you look to these days is either liberal or conservative in the way it filters and “reports” it’s news doesn’t mean that neutrality isn’t possible. Neutral journalism happens whenever the corporate big wigs don’t care about the coverage. When an earthquake suddenly occurs in California, Rachel Maddow and Bill O’Reilley put on their “journalist” hats and start asking “how are the hospitals handling this” or “when are we going to hear from the governor.” They don’t put their commentator hats back on until later when they start asking “how can we blame this on Trump/Clinton” again.

Regarding “objectivity”, a journalist doesn’t have to be personally objective, but he/she has a duty to step back and be ruthlessly objective in deciding what is newsworthy, and honest about the facts in his/her story. I’m an attorney and I have to present positions and arguments I don’t agree with all the time. Contrary to popular attorney jokes, it doesn’t mean I’m a bad person, it just means that I understand that the integrity of the legal system is greater than just me or my personal viewpoints.

In order for it to work as intended, I have to zealously represent my client, the other side has to do the same, and assuming that we’re both trained, competent, lawyers, the adjudicator should be able to ascertain the truth from the result. I’m not a brilliant person. So, if there is a failure of the system, and I win on issues that perhaps I shouldn’t have, it almost always has more to do with the other side not doing their job than it does with some sparkling brilliance on my part.

If you truly do not believe that you can step back and be objective, or neutral, in the way you approach an article as a journalist, then you’re either not giving yourself enough credit or you’re overestimating your importance in the large scheme of things.

Like what you read? Give Steve Koken a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.