Top, photograph by Luke Gilford, from the editorial L.A. Stories for V Magazine #79, Fall 2012. Via. Bottom, photograph by Adrees Latif/Reuters, A man is doused with milk after being hit with gas by security forces trying to disperse demonstrators protesting against the shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, August 2014. Via.
The police are dealing with many more media people who want to interact with protesters very closely. I think in some ways they have difficulty separating who’s a protester, who is a media person. I mean, they’re all running around with cameras.
Robert Cohen, staff photographer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Via.
So it comes as little surprise that some media-watchers are beginning to argue that the reporters on the ground have lost their objectivity and are now, consciously or not, aligning themselves with the protesters and against the police. As Politico’s Dylan Byers put it Tuesday, “Any journalist who stands on the front lines will inevitably be pushed, prodded or find themselves on the receiving end of a rubber bullet or tear-gas canister. In such an environment, it becomes near impossible not to identify with the protester.” Hot Air’s Noah Rothman, whose piece prompted Byers’ post, had gone even further. It is “clear that the press is no longer serving as objective chroniclers of the proceedings,” Rothman concluded after offering a few caveats about the media’s right to challenge authority. “In many ways, the media appears to believe that it is an active participant in the events in Missouri.”
Josh Voorhees, Why the Media Is Siding With the Protesters, for Slate, August 2014.
The demand for more immediate knowledge has changed the game, and the attention market doesn’t pause for consideration — even when there are lives at stake.
(…) It’s not just the fault of journalists, though. Now that Twitter and Instagram have brought the barriers to publication to just about zero in terms of time and resources and journalists can publish information as quickly as they can experience it, the public feels entitled to real-time information about any newsworthy event anywhere in the world. We earnestly believe we are meantto see and hear everything as it happens and that the world is always better off for our attention. Transparency becomes not a means to justice but an end in itself, and a slavish devotion to immediacy and openness undermines one of the most important journalistic virtues: discretion.
Malcom Harris, Unethical journalism can make Ferguson more dangerous, for Aljazeera, August 2014. Via.