By Colin Dabkowski
For journalists who take it as their mission to shape the public discourse, impartiality and skepticism are job requirements.
For those reasons, you’ll never see me endorse a political candidate publicly. I belong to no political party, nor have I ever contributed money to any campaign. I believe journalists should strenuously avoid partisanship, whether they cover the arts or city hall.
But I will defend the basic tenets of American citizenship, values that have nothing to do with partisanship or party: equal rights for all, freedom of speech and religion, liberty, justice, the pursuit of happiness. In short: democracy.
These values include women’s right to make their own healthcare decisions and be paid equally, African Americans’ right not to be killed in the streets by unaccountable agents of the state, trans people’s right to define themselves without violent consequences, the right of people with disabilities to be treated fairly and my own right to love whomever I choose without fear of discrimination.
To the extent these rights are not yet realized or under assault, as they appear to be in this dawning administration, I will not hesitate to speak out. Nor should any other journalist committed to the same ideals, no matter what pressures corporate media owners exert upon us.
It seems strange that I should have to write this.
But as we witness the creep of authoritarianism and the erosion of our basic democratic institutions, it is important for journalists not to allow quaint notions about impartiality — or worse, a political agenda masquerading as impartiality — to render their profession irrelevant.
Colin Dabkowski is the vice president of Mobilizing for Local 31026 in Buffalo. Colin has worked at the Buffalo News for 10 years and is the Arts Critic.