It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white — or trainedPosted: February 14, 2012
Deggans and members of the National Association of Black Journalists criticize MNSBC for hiring journalists simply for names recognition sake – and to ensure that diversity on the air is meant. MSNBC in particular has been cited for this habit as the station has also hired such non-journalistic African-American talent as Alan Keyes.
Recently, Deggans sat down to talk to Phil Griffin, the president of MSNB, about the stations apparently bad habit of hiring non-journalist to do what is supposedly a journalists job. The verdict?
Apparently, Griffin couldn’t care less. The president of the popular broadcasting network doesn’t “care about journalists. . . [he] [wants] fair minded, smart people who understand the world, who can interpret it.”
Correct me if I’m wrong – but isn’t that what journalists are trained to do?
Although Deggan concedes that there certainly are big names in the industry today (think Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteran) who did not come from journalistic backgrounds, he does not necessarily condone the trend. In fact, he points out that journalists are trained to “fairly handle information and arguments.”
He also notes that those trained as journalists generally strive to “observe a code of behavior in which we are fair in how we handle arguments, accurate in how we report facts and transparent in how we do our work, avoiding conflicts of interest which may influence us in ways the reader (or viewer) is not aware.”
Those not trained as journalists, though they may have the best of intentions, are often not as aware of the finer points of these guidelines as a journalist may be. How can these people act as a watchdog on the government when they have not been trained to do so fairly?
What do you guys think? Is it fair that major news stations give away air time to celebrities who are not even journalists? Is it dangerous to democracy in any way? Could it contribute to the increasingly partisan nature of today’s news coverage? Could it be adding more bias?