The Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) represents academics in journalism and media studies. At their annual convention last week, they passed a resolution to “Object to the Bush Administration’s Anti-Press Policies and Practices.” From the preamble:
The relationship between the presidency and press has always been uneasy. This tension is both unavoidable and generally salutary: When each side conducts its duties with honesty and integrity, both hold the power of the other in check…..However, it has come to pass that the current administration has engaged in a number of practices and has enacted a series of severe and extraordinary policies that attack the press specifically and by extension, democracy itself.
The resolution cites 10 practices to which it is objecting. Please click the link for more detail.
The AEJMC’s membership is troubled by the Bush administration’s…
- response to press requests for information.
- use of staged town meetings.
- vision of the government as a private domain.
- practice of massive reclassification of documents.
- support of policies that weaken the multiplicity of voices on a local and national scale.
- policy of not allowing photographs of coffins of soldiers killed in Iraq to be released.
- use of propaganda, including video news releases.
- use of bribes and payments to columnists and other opinion makers.
- manipulation of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
- using the courts to pressure journalists to give up their sources and to punish them for obtaining leaked information.
This is a superb list of issues for the professors to call the administration to task for. But I believe it is equally important to send these objections to their professional colleagues in the media. Much of what the administration gets away with is due to the absence of an aggressive and independent press that refuses to let itself be diminished by an imperial executive branch that thinks it’s above the law.