Why Journalists Make Bad Politicians in the US


Here’s Edward Wasserman in the Miami Herald:

But the equally compelling reason, and one that makes it unlikely that journalists will ever be warmly welcomed as political aspirants, has to do with the adversarialism that journalism is premised on.  I don’t want to go overboard here… But fundamentally, to do their jobs right, they sign on to the idea they’re a check on power, an organ of accountability, working on behalf of the public and, when appropriate, working to expose or frustrate the stratagems, policies and privileges of office-holders in business and government.

A record of distinction in the newsroom is unlikely to win anyone a welcome among politicians, and it’s understandable that journalists move so rarely into public office. On balance, that’s a good thing. Ambition can be a motivator, but it can also be a powerful distraction. If you’re handling your current duties with an eye mainly to endearing yourself to your next boss, you probably don’t deserve either job.


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Why Journalists Make Bad Politicians in the US

  1. Wasn’t David Axelrod a former political journalist? But I guess he’s an advisor not a politician.

  2. Does Al Franken qualify as a journalist ?

    As a journalist, he makes a good comedian ?

    As a comedian, he makes a good journalist ?

  3. ha ha unsaid here is the fact yes fact that Canadian Media is almost entirely made up of corporate and religious quislings who never if ever ask real questions of leaders when interviewing them..All canadian media is interested in is access to power and privileges.

    Worst Mainstream Media In the Free World (after the US but then they have real free speech) – and we ain’t free here in canuckistan unless being a pacified moron is freedom.

  4. sorry that should have read being a pacified mediocre moron.

  5. Yes, a much more common and worrying trend among journalists is not that they do not enter public office, but that they inevitably end up working in public relations for government or big companies. How independent is the press when they are supposed to be covering big institutions which they can presume they will inevitably work for?
    Today it even stretches to journalist programs. Ask how many students in a journalism program really want to work in journalism as opposed to PR. I’ll bet it’s 50 / 50. And most of the 50 percent that do want to work in journalism will end up in PR anyway.
    Free press. Right.