Should Bloggers Accept Journalistic Standards?

Veteran journalist and newbie blogger Haim Waitzman posts: "Shouldn’t journalistic ethics apply to bloggers? Specifically, shouldn’t bloggers refuse to accept perks from companies, organizations, and power brokers they write about? I’m a newbie in the blogging world, but I believe that any blogger who seeks credibility and independence must accept this standard."

This is a tired and dull line of thought, one frequently trotted out by mainstream journalists who see that the old model for presenting news is not sustainable and that the new model is online and strange.

Blogging is just another form of communication technology like a pen or a typewriter or a fax machine. Many journalists such as Haim Waitzman use this form of technology and therefore are bloggers. Many bloggers do journalism, but only the tiniest percentage of bloggers, less than 1%, claim to be journalists (because most of what they write does not purport to be journalism).

Waitzman criticizes Jewish bloggers for taking the Nefesh b’ Nefesh free flight to Israel for the first Jewish Bloggers conference. But none of these bloggers primarily identify as journalists even though some of their work may at times be journalistic.

I suspect that almost all bloggers have written fiction at some time but few of them identify primarily as poets or novelists.

I’m one of three people (Matt Drudge and surely someone else) who’s made his living as a blogger for more than 11 years. During this time, I’ve freely taken freebies (from blowjobs to loans) from people I wrote about. If I didn’t, I would not have been able to survive (financially or psychologically).

I believe that many of the favors I received not only did not damage my credibility as a reporter, but enhanced it. They gave me a deeper understanding of my subjects.

I’m not ashamed to say that I am a better man for having known Kendra Jade, Kimberly Kummings, Kitten Natividad, Hailey Rivers, et al. They humbled me. They made me realize that I am a sinner in need of G-d’s grace.

I would not today have as much love in my heart and wisdom in my head if I had not first fallen.

Haim Waitzman, he who is without sin, let him throw the first stone!

I’ve long found that the best way to get to know somebody is to sleep with her.

That’s true knowledge. That’s not hearsay. And you can’t Google for such insights.

The only reason I don’t do this anymore is because of G-d’s eternal and immutable moral law, not because of man-made journalistic ethics.

Catholic priests are not supposed to screw around, but who will dare say that Father Ralph de Bricassart did not become a better man after his passionate weekend with Rachel Ward in The Thornbirds? Even a gay man could not help but be elevated by this taste of the divine.

I wonder if Haim Waitzman — while the sap was still running in his tree — was doing an in-depth profile of a young Rachel Ward, would he have said no to her for the sake of journalistic ethics?

Would that be something he’d be proud to tell his grandkids? That he turned down Rachel Ward for the sake of The Journal of Higher Education?

The Bible instructs us to not be overly righteous. So if some diseased hag is offering you a quickie, by all means say no. But when King David saw that hottie Bathsheva bathing naked, he acted like a real man by murdering her husband and possessing her. Sure, afterwards, he did all this moaning about having sinned, but that’s just what any journo should do when his boss catches him nobbing a source.

Journalistic ethics were promulgated to point to the One who would come and fulfill these laws — me — and thus all who believe in me are no longer under law but under grace.

You’ll never get to journalistic heaven (the Pulitzer Prize) through legalism but rather through love.

Did not the greatest teacher of journalism, the Apostle Paul, say that the greatest of these is love?

I’m not ashamed to say that I have loved, that I have lived a bohemian life filled with non-conventional post-modern relationships, and that in the name of love I have violated many bourgeois norms.

Thus I no longer think of myself as a journalistic rabbi but as a spiritual artist.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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