Isabelle Roughol – The J junkie

The tribulations of a young journalist and writer looking for work

The debate over journalists’ right to vote is a non-question

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For some obscure reason, the question of whether journalists should vote — which I thought had long been settled — resurfaced on the J-blogosphere this week, probably sparked by this piece on Politico and this WP blog post that got tons of comments.

You might start thinking that becoming a journalist is like entering the priesthood. It’s hard enough having to discipline ourselves in public statements; now some would have us become apathetic, blank slates even in the dark of the polling booth. What’s next? Give up your habeas corpus rights so you can look objective reporting on Guantanamo? Not own a pet so you can report on the Humane Society? Not have a kid so you can report on the PTA?

It’s a travesty to argue that just because journalists wouldn’t vote, they would be objective about the election. I am not a U.S. citizen and cannot vote in the upcoming presidential election; believe me when I say, I very much have an opinion about it. Stronger, in fact, than in many French elections where I could — and did — vote. I just won’t make public statements about candidates, donate, be involved in campaigns, etc… And I am confident that I can set this opinion aside if asked to report about the election. It’s that simple. Let me vote (where eligible.)

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Written by Isabelle Roughol

Saturday, 16 February, 2008 at 01:13

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