Monday, June 23, 2008

Are You Friends With the Prez? Should You Be?

THIS YEAR'S PRESIDENTIAL race is by far the most technologically advanced campaign ever. All of the candidates, including the two presumptive nominees, have made great use of the Internet.

John McCain has a video game on his official campaign site. Hillary Clinton posted videos almost daily and her campaign mass e-mailed supporters constantly in a push to raise funds.

Barack Obama's facebook site boasts more than one million friends. McCain has far fewer facebook friends but he is there (George Bush has even fewer).

Here is the question: Should journalists be facebook friends with the candidates? Does that reveal a lack of objectivity? Or is it just a smart move to get information as fast as possible?

7 comments:

Abby said...

The idea of social networking sites such as Facebook being used to raise awareness for just about anything-nonprofits, political campaigns, promotion, etc- is astounding. Facebook allows these causes to get their ideas out, especially to young people, and provide a way for these people to get directly involved in the process.

I think it is the decision of the journalist to publically show any bias towards one candidate or another. Facebook isn’t targeted to journalists and most of the information on social networking sites is filtered by the communications teams. So, would a journalist even get any information from facebook that they wouldn’t already have? Is it worth losing credibility over being somebody’s “friend”?

Every day on the news, you hear papers endorsing candidates. I don’t think this is ethical. Newspapers should remain objective because they owe that credibility to their readers. Personally, I would never jeopardize my credibility by endorsing a candidate as a political journalist.

Abby said...

The idea of social networking sites such as Facebook being used to raise awareness for just about anything-nonprofits, political campaigns, promotion, etc- is astounding. Facebook allows these causes to get their ideas out, especially to young people, and provide a way for these people to get directly involved in the process.

I think it is the decision of the journalist to publically show any bias towards one candidate or another. Facebook isn’t targeted to journalists and most of the information on social networking sites is filtered by the communications teams. So, would a journalist even get any information from facebook that they wouldn’t already have? Is it worth losing credibility over being somebody’s “friend”?

Every day on the news, you hear papers endorsing candidates. I don’t think this is ethical. Newspapers should remain objective because they owe that credibility to their readers. Personally, I would never jeopardize my credibility by endorsing a candidate as a political journalist.

Crystal said...

Journalist can get information quickly by being on mailing lists, can't they? That way they'll get their updates on whichever candidate they prefer, but it won't be public for anyone with a facebook account to see.

However, I don't think Journalists need to be completely objective. I don't know HOW they can be completely objective.

Obed Sarpong 4 u said...

Nice blog. I'm linking it up now to my blog: sarpongobed.blogspot.com

It's not wrong being a friend to government officials, albeit the extent of the friendship must be guarded. Facebook does not go to those extreme points i'm referring to; so, there's no point in signing up as a friend to Obama or McCain. It might damage you when you make a comment in favour of the one whom you signed up on. People would then question whether you are objective as a journalist.

Chris Banks said...

One could consider that it's a little easier (and much more discrete) for a journalist to be on the candidate they support's email list. My view has always been that facebook is kind of a way to make public those things. So I guess I'm saying that it is smart to get info as fast as possible, but facebook is not necessarily the vehicle to do so.

Kirsten Stamn said...

I personally don't think that when a journalist is a facebook friend of a candidate it means they are biased. If a journalist needs information quickly, why not have them subscribe to a source that can give them the raw information right away?

Lauren Grant said...

It's a good way to get more information because facebook tells all basically so it's definitly a was for a journalist to get good information. How the journalist use the information is another story.