Submitted by Darren Smith, Guest Blogger
In what became a highly charged row, Time Magazine Reporter Michael Grunwald posted on twitter “I can’t wait to write a defense of the drone strike that takes out Julian Assange.” After a frantic and very pointed response Mr. Grunwald deleted the post and issued an apology which read “It was a dumb tweet. I’m sorry. I deserve the backlash. (Maybe not the anti-Semitic stuff but otherwise I asked for it.”
Time Magazine issued a statement distancing itself from the controversial tweet. “Michael Grunwald posted an offensive tweet from his personal Twitter account that is in no way representative of TIME’s views. He regrets having tweeted it, and he removed it from his feed.”
The fact that a news reporter of a major publication in the United States advocates the extra-judicial assassination of another person who publishes information to the public is certainly disturbing in itself. But, is it also equally as disturbing that it might be an insight into the mindset of some reporters of their mode of being defenders of the U.S. Government’s and the administration’s practices?
One has to question what the role of a news reporter is when they publicly state they cannot wait to defend an action that the President’s Administration has been widely criticized for engaging in for many years. Defending a presidency might be a role for a Whitehouse Spokesperson or a Defense Attorney but how objective can we believe a mass media reporter to be when he, on his own volition, advocates defending those responsible for a future demise of a dissident by tweets such as this? Is this an insight into a culture that might exist in some circles of the news media where defending illegal actions by the government is considered common practice? And one also has to question the direction news outlets might be fostering in the way they might be steering their reporters in how information is presented to the readers.
So what is to become of journalism if its role is simply to be a profession that launches attacks on those who criticize a government’s actions and then rushes to defend this government if it chooses to carry out illegal activities?