What I Meant to Say Was…

Amanda Kate Winkelman

Amanda Kate Winkelman is a contributor to INN. She studied print journalism at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. She spent a semester at the Washington Journalism Center in D.C. and interned at the Baptist Press. When she returned to Oregon she continued to intern at The Newberg Graphic.

It is not the job of a journalist to make political big wigs, presidents and candidates alike, look good for the public masses. Protecting  their images  is the job of those on the campaign team and their public relations committees. So why are journalists taking on this role?

Because they are being censored by people more powerful than the press.

According to a New York Times article that seems to have slipped under the radar, a new standard is being set in journalism. Politicians and their advisers are requiring that all quotations be cleared before being published and allowing statements to be vetoed by press offices.

Journalists are supposed to hold people accountable, to report the facts and what is being said. Due to these new requests, journalists are losing their power, and thus democracy is losing its foothold.

There is an understanding when it comes to the brutality of the 24-hour news cycle; say something that can be taken out of context and there goes the Twitter news feed.

At the same time, presidential candidates and their spokespeople have an obligation to be able to answer the press without needing their press offices to remedy their slip ups or disguise truth. If a politician is ignorant on an issue, shouldn’t the people who are considering electing them for office know about that?

Is this not stepping on the boundaries of the first amendment – freedom of the press? Part of the press’ responsibility is attributing comments to those who say them, and now the politician is taking the quotation that his press office cleaned up for him.

It censors the facts and the opinions of those in leadership. It replaces truth with propaganda. And it seems as though news corporations need to stop walking on eggshells and stand up, pushing for their rights to report what was said not what was meant to be said.

A quiet ethics debate is raging, and Infinity has chosen its stance.