There was an exchange this week between a regular caller to the talk show, known as anti-American, who challenged moderator David Ellis that he (Ellis) and traditional media should have done more to lead public awareness about the FTC BL&P recent rate hearing. David Ellis predictably responded that his job as a journalist was to present news and not lead public opinion.
The exchange brought to mind whether a journalist who essays the overriding need to be balanced is qualified to host a talk show which promises to fully ventilate issues of national import. What it means, if public sentiment overwhelmingly speaks to its concern about a matter, Ellis the journalist who needs to be balanced will not feel obligated to champion the cause. How could he when his philosophy is to be ‘balanced’?
BU recalls if Elombe, Walter Blackman and a few others believed in a cause they would side with it and become advocates. It had nothing to do with being balanced, more so aligning with a cause thought to be just. If Ellis is to hold true to his journalistic principles then he has no place hosting a talk show. The caller is absolutely correct, the outcome of the rate hearing was of critical importance to the well being of our society and the media. VoB, ignored the voice of the people when it did not give the required level of coverage. To use the example of the caller, if it was about a case of necrophilia one could predict the media coverage.
When all is said and done BU concedes we may have unrealistic expectations of VoB and the wider media. There is an obvious dearth of financial journalists qualified to competently cover a rate hearing, if that was not a hindrance, there is the influence of the advertising dollar and political considerations.