Clearly there are concerns that come with allowing politicians into the often adversarial field of journalism; however, Shepherd fails to adequately recognize how this can be a beneficial practice as well.
It was Sun Tzu that said, “Know thy self; know thy enemy” (“Sun Tzu,” 2010). If journalists are truly the watchdogs of politics, only by fully understanding the field can they effectively perform their duties as protectors of the American public. Experience as a politician, in a political campaign, or in a governmental agency allows journalists a new level of insight into the workings of American politics that outsiders simply dont have. When this insider knowledge is applied correctly, it can help facilitate a journalists duties in reporting the news.
It is foolish to think that a journalist who hasnt acted as a political candidate or taken part in some form of political campaigning or governmental office has no personal political leanings. Everyone has a natural political bias. Every journalist has core beliefs they feel are right and those they feel are wrong. In the process of their profession, they research issues and garner information and it is only natural that this leads them to form a personal opinion about the issue at hand. However, this doesnt prevent them from reporting the issue as unbiasedly as possible.
Good journalists overcome their personal bias to a piece of news and report all sides of the story, to allow viewers, readers, or listeners to form their own opinions. Although someone has been in the political arena, they too can do this. Although they may not have the journalistic skills acquired with years of experience in the industry and education, bringing a former political player into the journalism field can bring new insight and perspective, because of their political experience. That holds value and obviously news agencies across America have found this of value as well, given the increasing number of politicians coming through the revolving door into journalism.
Shepherd, a. (Jul/Aug 1997). “The revolving door.” American Journalism Review. p. 19-21.
Sun Tzu quotes. (2010). Retrieved February 23, 2011, from http://thinkexist.com/quotation/know_thy_self-know_thy_enemy-a_thousand_battles-a/149702.html..