I relish the opportunity to educate people on what journalism is and what it isn’t. It seems that some folks have a really warped sense of the art of news. I enjoyed the response (above) by Mitch Coffman, a man hired to defend any inferred or implied insult upon a political organization such as the Idaho Freedom Foundation. But first, I want to address some of the rhetoric that comes straight out the right-wing playbook. Attack the messenger.
As I recall, this is exactly what my article was about, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger When You Aim for the Apple on my Head, May 14, 2014.” In his first sentence, he accuses me of an attack. I assure you, reporting the truth is never an attack. It is defense.
Let me set Mr. Coffman straight. I was simply connecting the dots. I did my research and while the IFF may have great support, both politically and financially from a great deal of Idahoans, they admittedly also receive support from the State Policy Network, a policy organization founded by billionaire Thomas Roe to foster in-state “mini Heritage Foundations” across the country. The SPN’s purpose, according to the Center for Media and Democracy, is to “produce reports, create statistics, draft talking points and ‘expert’ testimony in support of bills… to advance a right-wing legislative agenda in the states under the guise of being a nonpartisan, nonprofit charitable organization.” Coffman says that the IFF shares a common vision with the SPN. He also admits that the news organization, IdahoReporter.com, does work for the IFF.
Coffman says that while IdahoReporter.com is a “source of free market views, it is still journalism.” NO, it’s not. It cannot be. It resembles journalism as much as a turd resembles a teddy bear.
Nowhere, not in Journalism 101, 201 or graduate courses have I ever heard of a legitimate, independent press being able to report impartially from underneath the guidance of policy organization. Nor does any other legitimate media in this state or country. Nor does anyone who has a degree in journalism; perhaps marketing, or public relations, but not journalism.
Coffman claims their reporting can be objective. I say it never can be because of the affiliation with the IFF. The news produced by IR and IFF reeks of political influence in the way that FOX news reeks of the far right agenda. No amount of rosewater is going to make that stink go away. To put articles out, thrown in among other journalism sources only muddies the truth water. Unfortunately, people generally aren’t smart enough or are unwilling to separate propaganda from real reporting. Even I have a hard time discerning between the two sometimes.
People need to know the truth and I will continue to strive to let people know who is behind points of view and why they might be pushing such agendas.
Looking through IdahoReporter.com and IFF’s online blogs it seems they spend a great deal of time attacking other media. Is this the behavior of an impartial journalistic group? No. It’s the behavior of a group attacking the messengers of truth, blurring what is truth in the public’s eye. That only leads to misinformation and a distrust of the media making it easier for propaganda to be digested by the masses.