Journalists explain why they're not voting Tuesday

Some journalists believe they should reveal who they vote for. Others think their behavior in the voting booth a private matter. And some choose not to vote, for a variety of reasons...

Because Russian journalists shouldn't have protested against Putin (Julia Ioffe, The New Republic)

Many of my friends in Moscow were Russian journalists and they rushed into the squares—not to cover the events, but to participate. They left their press cards at home, saying that today they were there as citizens. But when they were arrested, a few of them taped a promo for their show (on Rain) from inside the paddy wagon. I picked a fight on Facebook, where all such debates take place: how could journalists protest one day as private citizens, and show up to the next one as a journalist with a press card? ...

After that fight on Facebook, I made peace with the journalists who taped the promo from the paddywagon on one condition: that I, the spoiled émigré with an American passport to protect me from Putin’s excesses, would not vote at home if I cover American politics. I had to agree to live by my own logic. A month later, The New Republic offered me a job in Washington, covering American politics. I was shit out of civic luck. Moreover, I was at risk of being lumped in with the handful of U.S. journalists who had ostentatiously declared, in the name of high-church bias-aversion, that they wouldn’t even deign to have opinions.

Because it wouldn't be fair to hold politicians accountable in public and favor them in the privacy of a voting booth (John Archibald, The Birmingham (Ala.) News)

I could choose a side in the privacy of a voting booth. I could turn around in the pages of the paper or the blogs and laud the recipients of my votes or blast their opponents.

And no one would know the difference. No one, that is, but me.

Because one's loyalty should only be to reporting (Dylan Byers, Politico)

Alec MacGillis, a senior editor at The New Republic, has written an essay on behalf of "the liberal media," explaining how "our" love of narrative has led us to overstate the former Gov. Mitt Romney's momentum for the sake of keeping ourselves entertained in an otherwise unexciting campaign season. ...

Bear with me, and we'll go through paragraph by paragraph. To start from the top: I think Aaron Sorkin's long since jumped the shark, I'm willing to entertain debates about the institution of marriage, and I'd bet New Yorker parties were better in the '90s. I don't have Rahm Emanuel or Chuck Schumer’s cell phone on speed dial, and — since becoming a reporter — I don't vote for presidents.

Because it will open them to charges of bias (Colin Pope, Austin Business Journal)

Am I completely without political thought or feeling? Absolutely not. But any opinions that develop are far too soft to threaten my responsibility to provide you with accurate information without a slant.

When done correctly, news reporting can be a very noble profession. Nobility often requires sacrifices so I’ll continue to stay home on election day.

But the great thing about being a reporter of news is that our pen is more powerful than the vote we can cast — another reason why it’s crucial for us to stay loyal only to journalism, not a particular candidate or political issue.

Because a certain state is inflexible (Brian Palmer, Slate)

I missed the registration deadline. I live in New York, though, so neither candidate cares about my vote anyway. For the record, I would have voted for President Obama. He has been ineffectual, but at least I know what he will attempt ineffectually to do. Mitt Romney would spend the next four years ineffectually doing God knows what. I believe it's important for a candidate to be consistent about what he will fail to accomplish in office.

Because they don't believe their votes count, because they live in the District of Columbia or Georgia, because your choice can betray you, because they let their registration lapse, because the candidates are similar, because voting has "no possible direct personal benefit" (Various staffers and contributors at Reason)

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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