by John C Abell
Add another voice to the debate about reporters and politics and transparency and if when the twain should ever meet.
Previously, we heard from the following counties:
- Those who would prefer that journalists avoid even the appearance of bias by not working for candidates, on their own time
- Those who would prefer that journalists didn't even attend a nominating caucus -- in other words, vote.
Now James Poniewozik of Time pleads what would clearly be the devil's cause in that room: wear your political affiliation on your sleeve, early and often.
Sure, Poniewozik is a pop culture columnist, not a political reporter. But maybe that\'s exactly who we need to hear from on this touchy topic -- you know, someone who has his finger on the pulse of the populace, instead of just smoke-filled nostrils.
Poniewozik has a point, even if he insists on referring to it as "going open kimono:"
Believing that offering more information would make us less credible sums up much of what is wrong with the media today. Bias is pernicious because it is hidden. When you put your views out in the open, at the very least it makes it harder for anyone to claim you're trying to flim-flam them. If they dismiss your work as a result, let your work argue for itself. Do enough good work, and your partisan critics will reveal themselves as just that.
Poniewozik says letting his readers know his political stripe makes him more self-critical about his writing -- which is how reporters are supposed to be anyway because, well, there really isn't any other effective way to regulate this sort of thing.
"Having you know more about where I'm coming from helps you keep me honest and forces me to police myself," he says.
And what is the potential downside to all of this? Won't "going open kimono" (it grows on you) just provide a thousand points of "Aha!" to the baiters, exploiters and anyone who stands to gain when journalism is wounded?
Poniewozik thinks not.
"Would it make readers and viewers more mistrustful?" he asks. "More mistrustful than what?"