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Jan 21, 2008

Mitt Romney was challenged by a reporter when he claimed that "lobbyists don't run my campaign." Here's the facts on the ground: Romney has accepted the second most money from lobbyists of any Republican presidential candidate; he has received the most endorsements from lobbyists of any Republican presidential candidate; a registered lobbyist is one of his senior advisers. A lot of his "advising" comes from lobbyists.

What happened after the spat (see the video) demonstrated why American journalism has become so abysmal. Glen Johnson, the reporter who called Romney on his b.s., was berated by Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, who claimed that "arguing" with the person giving a press conference is not "professional"!

It is not surprising that someone wanting to get a message reported his way defines the "profession" of journalism as "repeating whatever you are told." Fehrnstrom works for Romney; it's his job to get Romney's message reported Romney's way. That doesn't even upset me. Freedom of speech means that lying scumbags have the right to lie their scumbags off.

What upsets me is that all too many "journalists" follow the same definition of "objective journalism": "It isn't up to me to think about what's being said, only to parrot it." Journalists aren't supposed to work for the people they report on, they are supposed to work for the people they report TO. Us.

Come to think of it, I will have to qualify that. Some "journalists" work for the people who listen to them by giving them what they want to hear. Most of the people who cheered for Glen Johnson's "watchdog journalism" didn't check out his documentation; they believed what he said because it matches what they believe about Mitt Romney, so it has to be true. The people who agree that Glen Johnson acted unprofessionally won't be checking out his documentation, because what he said doesn't matches what they believe about Mitt Romney, so it can't be true. To those people, Ann Coulter is a journalist. She gives them what they want to hear.

Freedom of speech does not mean you have the right to lie without being challenged. And freedom of information does not mean that you have the right to pick and choose your information based on what you want the truth to be. Whether what we read is unflattering to a person we support or favorable toward someone we oppose, we have a responsibility to try to disprove our initial opinion before we decide its credibility. That is what "being objective" requires.

When you choose to be lied to, you have surrendered freedom. When you subject yourself to the rudeness of being proved wrong, you make yourself free.

Would you buy a used lobbyist from this man?

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Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Monday January 21, 2008, 5:07 am
Tags: politics democracy journalism lobbyists mittromney [add/edit tags]

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Anitra Freeman
female, age 65, married, 2 children
Seattle, WA, USA
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