Journalism Ethics 101

Anna Schneider

After having its spot blown up by two fearless members of the In These Times team (check out our editor Brian Cook's recent blog and this letter from contributing editor Chris Hayes) and many others, The Washington Post withdrew its support from the Pentagon's "America Supports You Freedom Walk" scheduled for 9/11. This week's issue of The Chicago Reader reported… The involvement of the media in the Freedom Walk became a national issue in large part because of Christopher Hayes, a contributing editor at In These Times. (Hayes also happens to be the author of this week's Reader cover story.) On August 11 he wrote a sharply indignant e-mail to Jim Romenesko's popular media-news Web site: "Bracket for a moment the heinous company in which this places the Bush administration (Cuba, Iran, and China, just to name a few of the regimes that regularly utilize state-sponsored marches and rallies as propaganda tools), and bracket for a moment the fact that this march for 'freedom,' which will take place on public streets, apparently requires participants to register with the DoD."What really widened Hayes's eyes was the willingness of the media to sign on. "Funny," he wrote, "I thought it was the role of the press to challenge not collude with the government when it attempts to disseminate propaganda." He pointed out that the rally was being organized "by the United States military, the same entity currently administering and promoting an increasingly unpopular war, one that remains the single biggest news story in the nation."Romenesko immediately posted Hayes's e-mail, and the heavily read blogger Atrios immediately picked it up. Denunciations rolled in from coast to coast: "Wait waitwaitwait! The fucking Washington Post is sponsoring a fucking Pentagon march/!?!?"For extra laughs, check out the words to ASY headliner Clint Black's latest chart-topper…It might be a smart bomb They find stupid people too And if you stand with the likes of Saddam One just might find you. I roq, I rack 'em up and I roll I'm back and I'm a high tech GI Joe I've got infrared, I've got GPS And I've got that good old fashioned lead

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