Is Cash Michaels a solid professional standout journalist who is adding real value to the coverage of the Duke hoax? Was The Johnsville News recently too hard on Cash Michaels?
KC Johnson writes:
Outside of the mainstream media, however, one North Carolina journalist has stood out. I've read Cash Michaels' column every week since I started following the story, in part because Michaels, who writes for the Wilmington Journal and whose work is part of the BlackPressUSA Network, has access to sources that few, if any, figures in the mainstream media possess.When KC Johnson says Cash Michaels is a standout journalist you have to do a gut check, even a brain check.
From the start, Michaels--like most of his readers--has openly sympathized with the accuser. But he's also been open to adjusting his perspective as new evidence has come in. And unlike people such as the Herald-Sun's Bob Ashley, he has kept asking questions about the case--something I thought was the job of all journalists.
Most important, in my opinion, Michaels has homed in on the significance of Nifong's habitual disregard for standard procedures. Several weeks ago, he started asking some hard questions about whether the D.A. exploited African-American voters in handling the case...
Did Cash Michaels' summer long hunt for the mystery millions of Duke "hush money" in his Wilmington Press column totally pollute this story and destroy his professional credibility? Not a single other news outlet seems to have touched this vapor. Are conspiracy theories just good stories to "speculate about" for a black audience? Does this type of professional blunder get a free pass given the circumstances? Are we over discounting his recent progress in asking hard questions and being a serious critic of this case?
If Cash Michaels can ask questions so can TJN.
Wikipedia defines journalist as follows:
A journalist is a person who practises journalism, the gathering and dissemination of information about current events, trends, issues and people...Granted Cash Michaels has to come at this hoax from a from a different perspective. Has he been professional and fair, and is he a good journalist? Certainly the answer is yes if you are a reader of the Wilmington Press.
Regardless of medium, the term journalist carries a connotation or expectation of professionalism in reporting, with consideration for truth, fairness, balance, decency and ethics - although standards can vary widely between publications.
Since the Wilmington Press probably wouldn't bother running this poll question about Cash Michaels, The Johnsville News will. There is a difference between "standout" and "good," but the poll will be phrased as follows:
One thing is sure. This case needs more standout journalists.
Duke Case: Special Ed. for Doubters with Hoax Dyslexia [TJN, Sept. 8, 2006]
Michaels Asks Questions [Durham-In-Wonderland, Sept. 9, 2006]