Yes, this entry is late. It’s almost 9 a.m. and I’m finally getting into gear. More on that below.
A memorial to HPD Officer Steve Favela was unveiled on Thursday in the offices of the Coast Guard unit he served as a reserve officer. A plaque with photos of Favela is now mounted in a prominent place in the modest offices of Maritime Safety & Security Team 91107, located in a trailer at the Coast Guard station on Sand Island, where men and women who served in the unit with Favela were clearly affected deeply by his death. Favela’s wife and family were present for the occasion, which probably deserved some media coverage.
In the meantime, I wanted to note the flap this week about journalists and politics, stirred up by an MSNBC report on campaign contributions reported by working journalists. There’s been a lot of back-and-forth on whether the criticisms were valid or justified.
I have to admit that I don’t buy into the idea that there’s a journalistic “principle” requiring journalists to shed all their mortal interests. In my view, the only problems with political activity by journalists are practical in nature. Do the specific interests create problems in reporting and, if so, do the problems clearly outweigh the rights of reporters to participate in civic life? When those answers are affirmative, then the political involvements will have to be contained or limited. Beyond that, however, I would encourage political involvement, just as I would encourage other forms of civic involvement and community service. It seems to me that the risks of artificial detachment are as great as those of personal commitment.
I expect most of my journalism friends will disagree with me, and perhaps this is a reflection of the fact that I never sat through a journalism class and wasn’t exposed to the professional indoctrination.
But it also seems to me that we create a basic conflict by preaching the benefits of civic involvement to our readers and bemoaning the lack of citizen participation in voting and elections, and then claiming that those choosing this profession must all remain “pure” and unhindered by those same involvements because of some higher journalistic principle. It seems to me that’s as untenable as unfettered political involvement.
This was the view of fireworks on the beach in front of the Hawaiian Village last night, where we were having a drink before dinner with good friends who fly out later today on the second leg of their move back east (the first being their departure from Kaaawa). Whew. We somehow got through the night without a supply of extra tissues, although I’m not exactly sure how.