WOMP, WOMP: Journalism Union in Disarray Over Support for Hamas

November 27th, 2023 12:56 PM

Semafor’s Sunday media newsletter offered a scoop from media reporter Max Tani spotlighting discord within the union representing journalists as, led by union reps at The Wall Street Journal, “[i]nfluential members of the country’s largest journalist union are resisting calls to release a statement supporting a ceasefire in Gaza.”

Tani explained that The Journal’s union reps “sent a letter to its parent union, the NewsGuild, noting that journalists are afforded protected status in war zones, and appearing to take a side could block reporters from attending briefings or speaking to officials – and could even make them military targets.”

The letter also stated the obvious that “[r]eaders, viewers and listeners far from a conflict zone depend on credible journalists on the scene to provide fair and unbiased reports” and thus “[t]aking public positions on news events we cover damages the confidence our members have earned...fueling the misconception that reporters are advocates rather than observers.”

Tani added “The New York Times union leaders are discussing issuing a similar statement” while the Associated Press hasn’t thought of it.

Not surprisingly, the New York branch of NewsGuild holds major sway as it “represents some of the biggest names in news media including the New York Times, the New Yorker and other publications at magazine publisher Conde Nast, and NBC News, among others.”

Tani wrote that NewsGuild has moved in recent years to “organizing adjacent, more overtly progressive organizations, some of which are outside journalism,” such as “the Democratic Socialists of America and the AFL-CIO itself.”

Noting that NewsGuild is part of the wider Communication Workers of America union, Tani said the CWA created a group called the “CWA Palestine Solidarity...to rally the more activist parts of the union, organizing an email petition calling on members of the NewsGuild to support a ceasefire.”

Amazing. Don’t let anyone tell you the journalism profession isn’t the left’s base and wholly-aligned with the Democratic Party.

Going back to calls to action, who was behind it? Not the actual journalists who report from the war zone. No, no, dear readers. Who was it? Whiny, far-left children, aka “New York Times tech employees” (click “expand”):

During a meeting last week, the Guild’s national executive committee discussed a proposal for the journalists’ union to adopt a statement calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel and a ceasefire. The same evening, the Guild’s influential New York chapter met to discuss the same topic, including a proposed statement presented by the union of New York Times tech employees — who are organized separately from its journalists — that would have condemned Israel for the deaths of children and journalists in Gaza.

“This violence is mirrored by a chilling effect across newsrooms in the United States and Canada,” the proposed national Guild statement said, noting the dozens of journalists who have been killed there since the military operation began last month. “Our members are increasingly bearing its brunt, working in environments where perspectives normalizing the Israeli assault are endorsed as objectivity, and reporting on the collective punishment is marginalized, dismissed, or penalized as bias.”

The proposal continued: “We join thousands of our colleagues and millions of others around the world in calling, in no uncertain terms, for an immediate ceasefire.”

Thankfully, he said New York News Guild leadership “ultimately rejected the proposal” and, in typical fashion for a liberal bureaucracy, “opted to form a working group”.

The “statement,” he said, wouldn’t touch on a ceasefire, but “the rights and protections that unionized workers have to express personal views without professional repercussions.”