Tuned In

Yes We Can (Disclose Our Votes)

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Having made a personal hobbyhorse of the idea that journalists should disclose who they’re voting for (see my argument here), I thought I should point you to Slate, which continues its tradition from 2000 and 2004 of inviting its staffers to announce who they’re voting for. It’s 55 to 1 to 1 in favor of Obama. That’s right: at Slate, Bob Barr tied John McCain. 

I write this not as evidence that the larger media is or isn’t for Obama; Slate’s a center-left opinion site, which went overwhelmingly for the Democrat the last two times out too. (The margin was bigger for Obama this time, but it was a landslide every time.) But it’s a practice that more journalists should follow, because (1) there’s a difference between having a preference and acting on it through your work and (2) hiding said preferences doesn’t make you any more fair. (All those journalists who don’t tell you who they’re voting for? They’re going to vote for somebody too!)

But the political teams at CNN, Fox, the New York Times and the Washington Post are not going to volunteer to be first to do it, so this change will only happen gradually, if publications like Slate—and non-Washington writers like me—do it first.

Which is why I’ve told you, ad nauseam, that I’m voting for Obama (and by now feel pretty boring for it). I’ve made a point, though, of not telling you why I’m voting for Obama. The reason, I guess, is that while I think it’s worthwhile for you to take my vote into consideration, once I start explaining my vote I’m going from disclosing to advocating. I’m the TV critic: I doubt anyone gives a crap what I think about clean coal. 

Still, if you don’t think that sort of thing is too much information, the Slate crew goes into considerable detail, one of them in haiku form.