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Stop Personifying The Year Challenge 2020
Smith’s main grievance against unions is that organized labor is, in itself, a political act, something that institutions like the Times avoid like the plague lest someone accuse them of “bias.” Smith in particular picks at recent support for unions (including the one he had such doubts about at BuzzFeed) by popular progressive politicians like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as the NewsGuild’s request for public stimulus funding for recession-plagued journalists. To drive this point home, he quotes Peter Baker, the Times’ White House Correspondent who is so psychotically horny for objectivity that he doesn’t even vote. The thing that Smith and his boss Dean Baquet obstinately refuse to recognize is that sustaining the illusion of objectivity people like Baker clearly yank it to on a nightly basis is really only possible for people like Baker who work at institutions like the Times. The rest of us work in the real world, where bad-faith critics will always assume you’re biased no matter how many Midwestern rest-stop diners you interview. The only way to combat this is not through both-sidesing and hedging, but by being open and honest about biases in reporting and striving above all for fairness, not balance.