“Hey, journalist — you call yourself a “journalist” — how about not being on any side? Have you completely forgotten that idea? Sad about your camera, but what about your ethics? Did somebody grab them too and smash them on the pavement? Or is it still possible to scrounge back somewhere in your head and find them?”
—-Bloggress and retired law prof Ann Althouse, commenting on a New Republic story in which a photographer complains about an antifa thug breaking his camera despite his assurances that they were on the “same side.”
Yes, Ann, journalists have completely forgotten that idea, and that idea was little more than a faint memory by 2008, when total ethics amnesia set in.
The journalist in question, Mike Kessler, signals his assumed virtue by writing…
To be clear, there’s no equivalence between white supremacists and antifas. One has a message of hate, and one seeks to stop that hate…. Conflating the two groups is a way for whataboutist conservatives to play down the racist rot that is spreading on the right….
To be clear, Mike, that’s utter bullshit, though it is the basis upon which the news media, Democrats and Never-Trump Republicans mugged the President for condemning equally—as he should have–the violent white nationalists in Charlottesville who were protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, and the violent antifa felons who attacked them to stifle their exercise of their Constitution-guaranteed rights. The far-left’s hooded antifa assholes who claim to oppose hate while wielding it, and whose objective is to destroy the freedom of speech through intimidation, are exactly as dangerous, repulsive and wrong as the far-right bigots who want to deny equal rights and opportunities to non-white minorities.
To be clear, these anti-democratic objectives—racial discrimination and suppression of free speech, are both unacceptable in a free society, and that makes them “equivalent” enough. They should both be opposed with the same fervor by all ethical, civically competent Americans, regardless of partisan tilt. If you prefer weakening the First Amendment to bigotry, you are as much a threat to the nation as the torch-bearing mob, and probably more. If you are a journalist and in favor of the anti-speech antifa (hardly anti-hate!), you are a hypocrite and a fool, as well as a disgrace to your crumbling profession.
As I have been writing for a long time, the news media’s abdication of journalism standards and ethics for partisan and ideological agendas is the most serious and important ethics story of our the century so far. Ann Althouse gets it. Once journalists did. I wonder when and if they ever will again.