Friday, October 14, 2011

The distinction between advocate and activist

Former Enron-adviser and current New York Times columnist Paul Krugman explains why he is not in the park with the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters:
Some readers have been asking me to go make a speech at one of the OWS demonstrations. If you think about it, however, you’ll see why I can’t.

I’ve been granted the enormous privilege of expounding my own views twice a week in the world’s greatest newspaper. I try to make the best use of that privilege, doing all I can to get the truth across and also advocating for what I believe to be the right policies. There are, however, some restrictions that come with the privilege; one of them is not crossing the line between advocate and activist. And there are good reasons for drawing that line. [Emph. added]

I suppose that one of those "good reasons" is that, if he was in the park chanting slogans, we would see him for who he really is rather than who he and the NY Times would like to pretend that he is.

I would find the mainstream media more credible if they were, at the minimum, honest about who they were instead of hiding behind meaningless distinctions and false pretenses. One of the better features of new-media reporting is the honesty. When, for example, Prof. Althouse reported on the Wisconsin protests, blog readers already knew who she was and what here biases were. That makes it easy to interpret, evaluate, and appreciate her reports. Mainstream media reporters also have opinions and biases but, by hiding them under the pretense of "objectivity," readers are left to guess where the reporters blindspots are.

In other news, the New York Times is again cutting newsroom staff under pressure from weakening revenue.

Hat tip: Newsbusters.

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