The FTC’s double standard for independent journalists.

After reading  Robert Niles’ article on the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) new rules for journalists, I have to completely agree with the author that their decision to only enforce these new rules on independent journalists is a complete double standard.  The law holds independent journalists to different standards than journalists who work for large media companies.  As if that is not bad enough, the proposed rules attempt to force independent journalists to be held accountable for what the write by making them disclose when they are paid or given incentive to write some and what they are given.  While I agree that it’s a good thing to hold journalists accountable, these standards should be set to ALL journalists, and they certainly should not assume that because a journalist works for a large media outlet that they won’t take payments to write a story a certain way or that the media outlet itself will hold them accountable.  To give an example of when this rule could come into effect Niles says that under these rules, a movie reviewer would have to disclose to his readers when he was allowed to see the movie for free in order to review it (unless of course he worked for the New York Times or some other large media organization).
I think that what the FTC is doing is a step back from what needs to be done and will further alienate new internet media and traditional media companies.  It appears to be a decision that supports the opinions of stubborn media moguls like Rupert Murdoch or News Corp. and Tom Curley of the AP. The FTC seems to believe that the First Amendment gives ore freedom to someone making more money for their work, and wishes to be the ones who classify who are and aren’t journalists by putting additional restrictions on those who they don’t think make the cut.
If the FTC decides to hold all journalists accountable, not just the ones they pick and choose, then this new standard could become a very good way to help the credibility of journalism as a whole, but until then, it is simply a double standard and an attempt to crush independent journalism.

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2 Responses to The FTC’s double standard for independent journalists.

  1. Wow good opinions! I agree that it seems a tad ridiculous that independent journalists should be held to different standards than ones working with corporate media. I think that it is important for readers to know what incentives the writer behind the story has so why not do this for all journalists?

  2. sweetsaltd says:

    Journalists on every level, independent or employed by the “Big Five,” should be held to the same standards as to conduct reporting with the utmost transparency and ethical reasoning. To assume that self-driven journalists need to be more regulated than others is it discredit the imperative moral and honest agenda of the profession. Journalists should seek to provide every bit of information available regarding their work, and these rules set by the FTC are not only a double standard but send the negative message that journalists who work for large media companies do not disclose certain information to the public.

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