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RIABiz takes stock as journalism comes under siege

The recent blizzard of attacks on journalists, cartoonists and moviemakers reminds how precious is the right to give and receive free expression

Author Brooke Southall January 8, 2015 at 10:17 PM
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Brooke Southall: Keep expressing heartfelt, unsanitized views, keep reading other's views, critically but copiously, and keep encouraging this intense unending interchange that is at the heart of what we do and who we are as we live in freedom.


George Guidotti

George Guidotti

January 8, 2015 — 10:40 PM

Last sentence says it all. Beautiful piece, Brooke. #freedom

Pat Allen

Pat Allen

January 9, 2015 — 3:20 PM

The investment industry is served by publishers of all sizes and stripes. One of the reasons I so appreciate RIABiz is that you continually try to make sense of, not just report on, the world we live in.

This post is another example of the editorial voice/leadership that makes RIABiz a publication to treasure. Thanks, Brooke.

Scott Hanson

Scott Hanson

January 9, 2015 — 7:55 PM

Well said Brooke



January 9, 2015 — 9:30 PM

Brooke, you choose to ask this question…

“But what on Earth is happening to freedom of speech and journalism when their status as sacred cows needs to be manifested in corrective actions rather than as a matter of course?”

You can write about anything you wish, and all the hashtags and applause can make people feel good about what you wrote. You also allow comments, and in the spirit of free speech, I believe you sold yourself short and took an easy road.

If you ask that question and choose not to address it seriously, why have the conversation at all? If you want to talk about this topic, dig into why a journalistic operation was firebombed once, and then brutally assaulted. The threat to free speech you cite from a ticked off County Council member is in no way, shape, or form akin to Muslim fanatics executing innocents because they do not ascribe to Islam.

“Don’t buy automatic weapons and go head hunting?” It is difficult to consider your point of view seriously if this is your advice. I’m hoping I simply misconstrued this statement, as it strikes me as a political one. Regardless, a learned journalist should frame a statement like that with more context, doing cursory research to know that automatic weapons were banned in 1934 in this country. They can’t just be bought for “head hunting”. Nor can I recall any American based crimes of automatic weapons being used to execute members of the press? Again, context would help.

The “sacred cow” of journalism should consider a healthy dose of humility. Hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women, and children have lost their lives just over the last year or so in the Middle East to the same brutality on witness in Paris. My prayers are with the families of the deceased in France. A robust and truth seeking media would stop at no end to root out the monstrosity taking place in Iraq, Syria, et al.

Journalists of all stripes should direct their anger at the root of the problem, and quit dancing around the issue.

brooke southall

brooke southall

January 9, 2015 — 10:51 PM


Thank you for airing your view. I am certainly out of my depths in trying to make sense of what happened in Paris.

But I do know a kill-the-messenger mentality when I see one and I am particularly sensitive to it as a writer. I expect disrespect for the media in Syria, Iraq et al. It’s perhaps more shocking to see strident media bullying in Frederick, Md.

I suppose it is open to question whether the Charlie Hebdo incident is a media issue at all. I have heard compelling arguments that we are actually giving the terrorists too much credit by connecting those two dots. I just don’t happen to agree at this point with that argument.

It’s also open to question whether a journalist should ask a question and then not explicitly answer it. Obviously the article’s timing reflects an emotional response by me to a shocking event. So as I wrote it I wrote it in that spirit. I felt the tremors of the Earthquake in a Parisian editorial office here in California. I wanted to express that. Sometimes a question is rhetorical. I believe this one I posed has rhetorical aspects.

I agree that ISIS is monstrous. I don’t agree with the myopic nature of this statement:

“A robust and truth seeking media would stop at no end to root out the monstrosity taking place in Iraq, Syria, et al.

“Journalists of all stripes should direct their anger at the root of the problem, and quit dancing around the issue.”

Journalism and its cousin, free speech, are at the root of freedom and democracy. An attack on journalists is a frontline attack on freedom. It keeps happening. I’m sure you’ll agree that’s not an issue we can dance around.


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