Newsroom officials appear to have warned reporters against expressing their personal views on abortion as the Supreme Court is potentially set to overturn Roe vs. Wade.
According to a recent vanity lounge report, some news outlets took a markedly different tone than they used during the Black Lives Matter protests over the death of George Floyd. For example, at the height of the 2020 protests/riots, Axios Chief Executive Jim VandeHei told employees in a company-wide memo that they were encouraged to exercise their “rights freedom of expression, of the press and of demonstration”. In recent days, however, the company has been singing a different tune to its employees. At the start of the week, a note circulated among Axios staff urged journalists to keep their opinions secret.
“Abortion is a human rights issue that has become a highly politicized topic, with very specific policies being debated in Washington and most states,” VandeHei wrote. “So it seems impossible to demonstrate – or tweet opinions – and not be seen as choosing a political side in public.”
VandeHei warned that such activism “could undermine our trusted journalism”.
A spokesperson for Axios said vanity lounge said the policy is consistent with the company’s mission statement.
“We have been consistent and clear since the creation of Axios: we want our business to focus on reporting and factual information, not opinion. We know it is difficult for staff when they feel their values or identity are under attack, but it is our shared mission,” the spokesperson said.
Associated Press and NPR reporters also received a similar note, according to Poynter.
Journalists have since taken to Twitter to express their displeasure.
“As we speak, journalists who have expressed their anger and distress on Twitter over the removal of their bodily autonomy and rights are now being reprimanded for it,” Mashable’s Jess Joho said. “Please explain to me: what exact version of ‘objective truth’ are we supposed to stick to here?”
it’s much easier to remain silent and insensitive when it’s someone else’s rights that are being stripped away instead of your own! why do we still equate silence with objectivity? who decided journalists weren’t allowed to feel emotions when their bodily autonomy was threatened https://t.co/TtSvNSMOcu
— morgan sung (@morgan_sung) May 3, 2022
I was wondering if this was going to happen: Yesterday Scripps emailed employees reminding them to follow company policies regarding political activity/expression of opinions “in light of the leaked of the Supreme Court regarding Roe v. Wade”, by @FTVLive: https://t.co/9w5F7AUL6u pic.twitter.com/rqUvBavf36
— Jeremy Barr (@jeremymbarr) May 6, 2022
Although the New York Times did not release any notes on this, the outlet directed vanity lounge to its Journalism Ethics Guidelines, which state that staff “may not march or gather in support of public causes or movements” or do things such as “sign announcements taking a stand on public issues ” who can “reasonably raise doubts about their ability or the Timeto function as neutral observers in news coverage. »
Alone rolling stone (not exactly a bastion of objectivity) told employees they were welcome to share their beliefs on the matter.
“Unlike so many other newsrooms, you don’t have to stifle your beliefs here. It is a place where we can stand up for what we believe in, where we can be fully ourselves,” rolling stone Editor Noah Shachtman told staff in a Slack message last Tuesday.
“Of course, we must maintain the highest standards of accuracy and authenticity in our reporting; we cannot take shortcuts or substitute opinions for facts. But this is a multi-pronged assault on our rights and we need to be upfront with our readers about what’s at stake – no euphemisms, no watering down,” he added.