Edward Lee Pitts is a reporter for a newspaper whose motto is “To Give the News Impartially, Without Fear or Favor.”
Yet according to an email posted on the Drudge Report, Pitts was far from impartial when he helped stage a question from a soldier to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In the email addressed to Chattanooga Time Free Press staffers, Pitts says “…we worked on questions to ask Rumsfeld about the appaling lack of armor their vehicles going into combat have.” Media attention quickly focused on the soldier who had asked the question as Pitts — a 2003 graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism — basked in the afterglow of a successfully executed stunt.
“The great part was that after the event was over the throng of national media following Rumsfeld- The New York Times, AP, all the major networks — swarmed to the two soldiers I brought from the unit I am embedded with.”
Most news consumers never see this side of journalism because reporters and their willing newsroom accomplices work behind a guise of “objectivity.” Yet, in Pitts’ email, the author’s bias is clear. He seems to have no problem sharing it to his colleagues, yet it is doubtful he would have ever revealed his thoughts to his readers. And you’ve got to ask your self “why?”
There are some people in the news business who see their job as a craft. There are others — usually the troublemakers — who see it as an art. And the production of art affords the artist a poetic license if you will. In Pitts’ case, his brush stroke was pinpoint and precise: buddy up with a soldier and coach him, and hope his boss picks on him for a question. If it works, you’ve got a lead story. A-block. Front page. Top of the hour. There is no wonder Pitts began his email with the following sentence: “I just had one of the best days as a journalist today.”
Did his editors?
This article first appeared on Reporterette.com.