Washington Post Columnist: It’s ‘Acceptable’ for Journalists to Be Activists, ‘They Should Stand Up for Civil Rights’
Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Fox News, June 8, 2020
Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan suggested that on Sunday that it’s “acceptable” for journalists to be activists for civil rights.
Sullivan addressed the inner turmoil that took place at The New York Times last week involving the uproar over an op-ed penned by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., as well as obstacles journalists have faced in recent weeks like sustaining injuries from the George Floyd protests and the massive layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic by insisting that journalists “could come out of stronger and better” if they “grapple with some difficult questions.”
“The core question is this: In this polarized, dangerous moment, what are journalists supposed to be?” Sullivan asked. “Pose that question to most members of the public, and you might get an answer something like this: ‘Just tell me the bare facts. Leave your interpretation out of it. And don’t be on anyone’s side.’ That’s an appealing idea at first blush. It’s also one that doesn’t always work, especially right now.”
Sullivan then implied that the “activist” description critics have given journalists isn’t actually a bad thing.
“What about these journalists whom so many want to criticize as taking on the role of activists? I am enough of a traditionalist that I don’t like to see mainstream reporters acting like partisans — for example, by working on political campaigns. … But it’s more than acceptable that they should stand up for civil rights — for press rights, for racial justice, for gender equity and against economic inequality,” she elaborated.”