“Professional standards” in journalism

The kind of principles that now govern news coverage: Guidelines for Countering Racial, Ethnic and Religious Profiling, adopted by the Society of Professional Jounalists shortly after September 11. Some basic rules: don’t call Islamic terrorists “Islamic terrorists,” constantly remind the reader of bombings by white supremacists, and if you have to show a U.S. official make sure it’s a Muslim lady with a headscarf. The evident goal of the rules isn’t accuracy, intelligent interpretation, or diversity of opinion. It’s coloring the facts to advance a uniform preconceived interpretation. Doing so is part of the basic demand of “professionalism,” in journalism as elsewhere: always to act in the interest of professionalizing all social relations, which involves (among other things) abolishing the religious, ethnic and sexual distinctions upon which traditional social relations often turn.

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