August 02, 2010

A New Standard for Objective Journalism at the CJR?

I work as a defense policy analyst at a think tank. I get paid to do research and then give informed opinions about issues of interest to policy-makers. Those policy-makers can either accept my recommendations or, more often than not, reject them. Last week, Joel Meares went after me on the Columbia Journalism Review's blog, which is fair game even though I am not a journalist and the piece of work he was criticizing was an analysis piece commissioned by the opinion page of the New York Times. This week, though, Mears interviewed my friend Nir Rosen, who is a journalist, and who said the following about the Wikileaks episode that frankly caused my jaw to drop:

"I think undermining that war in any way possible is a good thing."

Okay, CJR, Whisky Tango Foxtrot: Are you an anti-war blog or are you a blog focused on issues related to journalism and war reporting? Because I both like your blog and also like Nir a lot, but his statement sure as hell would have prompted a follow-up question about the line between activism and journalism. You don't think that a journalist covering the war in Afghanistan who feels the war should be undermined in any way possible is slightly problematic given the American tradition of objectivity in journalism? Did you really just let that comment slide completely unchallenged?

P.S. Also, Nir, you seriously don't think someone in Karachi is going to read the documents on the internet and send forward a list of names? Seriously? You seriously don't think the Taliban has access to the internet?