I remember three things from one of my journalism tutors at uni – only babies are due, never sign a petition, and never tell anyone who you vote for.
It’s the latter rule I thought of in the lead up and on the day of this year’s federal election.
Some of my friends who work in the media were freely sharing their views on social media and actively encouraging others not to vote for a particular party.
I don’t write political news stories anymore so it probably doesn’t matter too much who knows how I vote but I always have that tutor’s voice in the back of my head.
In a recent issue of InsideStory, Dennis Altman argued political commentators should declare their positions.
While I agree with his point that some sections of the Murdoch press discarded any pretence of balanced reporting, I don’t believe we should abandon working towards fair and bias-free journalism.
We should be rallying against biased coverage – or at least trying to ensure there is enough media diversity so these voices are just one of many.
Why should we know the political leanings of Karl Stefanovic, Leigh Sales, Sandra Sully, or David Speers? Surely its better they remain impartial with the viewer none the wiser about whom they voted for at the ballet box.
Do we really want to end up like the American media where news anchors are required to declare their ‘side’ and be forever be held accountable?
By making their allegiances (if they even have them) public, this becomes the issue rather than the one they’re trying to report.
What do you think? Should political commentators reveal who they vote for?