Écriture Oblige: On Journalistic Obligation
Newslord 7, 3 August 2015

In today’s political climate, I often find myself reflecting on the true meaning of journalism, and the deep and profound responsibilities placed upon we noble warriors of truth. It is no secret that it is all too easy for the otherwise magnificent and stalwart defenders of knowledge to abuse our platform, letting our ethics be compromised by petty personal vendattas, and in my position as Newslord 7 of the renowned, world-respected, greatest news source of them all, Approved News 6, I feel the time is right to issue a simple call for the decency and civic-mindedness that befits our brave journalists, and which is, as an example, so profoundly lacked by Mr. Nathan C. Williams of Nashville, TN.

We must never forget that our words reach the ears and REDACTED the minds of millions. Can you imagine the chaos into which our beloved America would devolve if the prominent news authorities habitually accused private citizens like Mr. Williams of offenses against which they have no means to defend themselves in the public eye, such as cattle rustling, well-poisoning, and puppy-kicking? What if I, an esteemed and infinitely respected personage, were to use my platform to decry Mr. Williams as a cheat, a scoundrel, and a dirty double-crossing two faced liar? If I issued a public call to arms against one lowly, loathesome, pathetic individual, who is as nothing compared to my inestimable grandeur, or indeed the grandeur of a moldy tomato sandwich?

As journalists, we must fight back against such abuse of the bully pulpit. If one of my reporters came to me with an article claiming Mr. Williams is followed and preceded always by a malefic odor that would shame Satan’s own housekeeping staff, I’d show that article no more tolerance than I would Mr. Williams in one of his habitual midnight drunken benders. Such selfish, irresponsible behavior is the bailiwick of cads like Mr. Williams, not a respected and beloved public institution!

It is also important for us as journalists to understand that just because knowledge is technically “public” does not mean that we can freely reprint it. Just because any Tom, Dick, or Harry could open up the phone book and figure out that Mr. Williams’ phone number is +1 (615) 555-0701, does not mean that it is appropriate or proper for a reporter to reveal such public information! It is not the role of journalists to organize the harassment of private citizens, no matter how many times that private citizen leaves his trash rotting on your side of the lawn because he won’t deign to pay for garbage collection services. Can you imagine the world if prominent authorities such as I took to the printed page calls for individuals such as Mr. Williams’ to be hounded by mobs of enraged, justice-seeking vigilantes? It would be an ugly place, my fellow Americans, uglier even than the filthy mongrel Mr. Williams calls a pet that shows no respect for private property or, indeed, personal space.

It would be equally wrong of me, or indeed any journalist, to reveal that Mr. Williams’ address is 1412 E. Bloodhorn Drive, Nashville, TN, 37235. What if a horde of patriotic, righteous Americans took it upon themselves to drive Mr. Williams and his fleabitten excuse for a family from house and home and torch the feculent remains to make sure they didn’t come back? No matter what greater justice it might serve or how laudable such actions might be, this is not the proper role of journalism in public life!

We must also be extremely careful with the rhetoric we employ. We must remember: we are the guardians of truth, not dyspeptic, crotchety, belligerent racists (unlike Mr. Williams). It is all well and good to derive personal satisfaction from writing phrases such as “Mr. Nathan C. Williams should forced at gunpoint to pick up all neighborhood litter every second Tuesday while neighborhood children point and jeer,” or “Any act of violence against Mr. Nathan C. Williams could be interpreted only as an act of the utmost courage and civic-mindedness,” but what if some vigilante took those words a bit too far to heart? Truly, no act could be more heinous than using this platform with which we alone have been entrusted to incite violence, no matter how justified it may feel or how much better a place the world would be were such violence carried out.

In conclusion, I call upon my colleagues to join me in showing no tolerance for this self-serving hack journalism. Respect your readers and your country. Don’t be like Nathan C. Williams.

Newslord 7 is a member of the shadowy board of REDACTED that lords over Approved News 6, and perhaps far more. She is the director of fundraising, counterinsurgency, and flaying. She lives in Oregon City, OR in the harem of Bone Sorceress Supreme Xylinda Overblight.