This is an open BLOG post to Doc Searls (firstname.lastname@example.org) & David Weinberger (email@example.com)
Dear David & Doc,
I heard on the Hobson & Holtz Report (Epi 790) about some feedback you received on your new clue # 66 from Richard Edelman. I’d like to offer my own thoughtful feedback. This is an open letter.
In thinking about your new clues 64, 65, & 66…
To whit, that while there maybe some area of concern with native ads, they are ethically speaking full of disclosure and the standard for them is actively evolving. The problem is not with Native Ads but with Journalism. Journalism is devoid of transparency and disclosure and self certifies that they are a profession and that their professionals are totally ethical.
Your clues (new and old) are filled with a humanistic admonition to interact as people, with people, in conversation and dialogue with transparency, openness, etc. Journalism is the “man behind the curtain” pretending to be the great and powerful “Oz of Ethics”… Like the Great and Powerful Oz himself, Journalists do not want that curtain opened.
Here are some Journalistic Clues:
When someone (like a Journalist) starts a conversation by telling you that you can trust them because their ethics are beyond reproach doubt their word early and often.
While there might be a problem with Native Ads, there is a serious and proven problem with Journalism.
Journalist ethics allow reporters to lie by omission millions of times a year while claiming to be the embodiment of purity and trust.
Journalism is less ethical than native ads because most people agree that ethics of native ads demands disclosure; Journalism pretends to disclose but doesn’t.
Journalist ethics requires reporters to “shun” whole areas of discussion rather than engage in conversation, community building, and dialogue.
Native ads have the potential for abuse and may potentially lack in quality; Journalism wearing an emperor’s cloak of ethics has abused reportage and the public trust for over a century.
The written code of Journalistic ethics is as byzantine and complex as a tax code, and as straight forward as Orwell’s doublespeak.
Journalists are told to reveal ALL their sources, and to QUOTE the most primary sources; they speak all day, all week, all year to PR staff who provide them with a myriad of information, privileged access to sources, gifts, meals, insight, locations and data not to mention background “analysis” and more; all of that is left entirely out of the picture (and the story).
If someone was paid 10’s or 100’s of thousands of dollars to influence a reporter, most of the actual public would want to know that; journalistic ethics deems that irrelevant.
Journalists are ethical in the same way that dictators care about their people; in name but not deed.
I hope you consider this an effort to create some conversation around this topic. Understanding that you have written 121 clues and I’m fixated on only three of them, i’d certainly understand if you don’t have the time to reply or engage.
For the record I have many friends who are journalists but there are only a few Journalists that I hold in high esteem; I don’t know him but Glenn Greenwald is the best example.