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Meet Lewis Wallace: Trans Reporter Fired for Writing About Journalistic Integrity in Trump Era

Meet Lewis Wallace: Trans Reporter Fired for Writing About Journalistic Integrity in Trump Era


AMY GOODMAN: We turn to the story of a reporter
who wrote a blog post about journalistic neutrality under President Donald Trump and found himself
out of a job. Until last week, Lewis Wallace was the only
out transgender reporter at the public radio show Marketplace. Then he published a blog post on the website
Medium about journalistic neutrality and the challenges of being a transgender journalist
who covers the current administration. Under the headline “Objectivity is dead, and
I’m okay with it,” he questioned whether people who hold, quote, “morally reprehensible”
positions, such as supporting white supremacy, can be covered objectively. And he argued journalists shouldn’t care
if they’re called “politically correct” or “liberal.” He also wrote, quote, “After years of silence/denial
about our existence, the media has finally picked up trans stories, but the nature of
the debate is over whether or not we should be allowed to live and participate in society,
use public facilities and expect not to be harassed, fired or even killed,” unquote. Marketplace said Wallace’s blog post violated
its code of ethics. It suspended him for writing it and asked
him to take it down. When he later republished it, he was fired. For more, Lewis Wallace joins us here in our
New York studio. But first I want to read the response from
_Marketplace_’s director of communications, Angie Anderson. She said they don’t discuss personnel matters
about current or former employees, but she gave us a statement that, quote, “The broader
issue around journalistic ethics is an ongoing one for the industry. … For Marketplace, it’s very clear. We are committed to raising the economic intelligence
of all Americans. We accomplish that with independent and objective
reporting that is based on facts, pursues the truth, and covers what’s happening in
a fair and neutral way. Our journalists’ mission is to be honest,
impartial, nonpartisan and independent in their work. Our team is a diverse group of professionals
who have committed to that code of ethics,” unquote. That’s the statement from Marketplace about
the firing of Lewis Wallace. Lewis, your response? LEWIS WALLACE: Well, you know, it’s a really
sort of complicated series of events that went on that led to me losing my job. But, fundamentally, I think a lot of journalists
all over the country, in public radio stations and in other types of organizations, as well,
are thinking really seriously about where is the center, where is our moral compass
and how are we going to report on an administration that assertively pushes lies, talks about
ideas like alternative facts. I never did a story for Marketplace that was
accused of bias or of being partial or unethical. This was more of a big picture discussion
that I wanted to carry on with other journalists. That discussion is going on now, and I’m
really happy to see that that’s happening. And I think that the sad thing has been learning
from a lot of other journalists around the country that they’re afraid to raise these
questions, and, in particular, journalists of color or transgender journalists who are
in newsrooms that are mostly white, where decisions are—journalistic decisions are
being made from sort of a certain perspective, and we’re all aware that that perspective
affects how we cover stories. We should cover them truthfully. We should cover them fairly. But I still think we should be questioning
kind of the meaning of neutrality in this time. And a lot of people want to have that conversation,
and they shouldn’t have to be afraid to have it. AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue
the conversation after the show, and we’re going to post it online at democracynow.org. Our guest, Lewis Wallace, fired from the national
radio outlet Marketplace on Monday after posting on his personal blog about journalistic neutrality
and the challenges of being a transgender journalist in this era of alternative facts. That does it for our show. We’ll also link to his piece. A very happy birthday to Hugh Gran.

35 comments on “Meet Lewis Wallace: Trans Reporter Fired for Writing About Journalistic Integrity in Trump Era

  1. Stay strong Lewis, you'll come out being more respected in the end then Marketplace will. I always laugh when people call Public Radio the liberal media; they have no idea how white and conservative it is and how they cater to corporations for funding! They will silence true liberal voices faster than you can say Tavis Smiley…Google him after you Google Frederick Douglass!

  2. I'm glad Wallace was fired; examples should be set. Today's journalists have very questionable ethics (in my opinion). I don't want journalists to tell me who's "bad" and who's "good;" Just give me the facts and let me decide for myself. Objectivity in the news is eccential to our democracy, to keep the public aware of BOTH SIDES of the argument.

  3. I hate when ppl try to link Trans/ lgbt/ immigrants/ minority's and all these other people's movements to black people. It weakens and water downs black peoples argument when you try to compare gays "oppression" (if you can even call it that) to black peoples legacy of centuries of slavery, Jim Crow and mass incarceration… Ithink radio show ✌🏾️

  4. This person is going to preach about journalistic integrity. lol

    You people wont know what that is even if it hit you in the face.

  5. What does sex have to do with this?
    It sounds, to me, like this "journalist" wants to talk about issues that fall outside the scope of Marketplace's stated purpose.
    People like this seem to think that everyone and everything ought to conform to them, and if anything/anyone does not then, in that person's mind, it must be wrong, (transphobic) because that is what is primary in their own minds.
    Most people don't value you as much as you think they should. That is true for most other people, as well.
    It is not justified to burn things down, though.

  6. New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, basically all largest newspapers in America endorsed candidates during the elections. Shows a complete disregard for even attempting to be objective. Americans just accept it, think nothing of it. Obviously, its not the role of news to endorse candidates, regardless of whether u agree with the endorsement.

  7. So this person used the news org he/she/hir/ir/bir/tir/whatever worked for to push he/she/etcs own political agenda and whines about it when he/she/etc gets fired?
    Fuck off.

  8. Marketplace is NOT "covering what happens" if they disallow covering what happens for political reasons, which is EXACtLY why they fired him, which I believe should be illegal!!! Capitalism is more important than people in America every day, and this is more proof!

  9. Upon reading his piece, it is very understandable why he was fired. The piece is very divisive. It frequently sets up us versus the white supremacist. This is not helpful for anyone when no white supremacist is mentioned in the piece. This is what people mean by straw manning. People are left to fill in the blank and that is what he wants. Everybody's a Nazi, right? Or should it be, build your own Nazi?
    "Obviously, I can't be neutral or centrist in a debate over my own humanity."
    If only humans were the sum of their genitals and skin color! Your humanity supersedes your identifiers. He has become the thing he claims to hate. The Medium was right in saying the piece is unethical. Tacking on the word inclusive does not help an argument when everything leading up to it is segregationist rhetoric. This man is not a Liberal he is illiberal and wants people to be shamed and prosecuted with thought crimes.

  10. Your born in this world, what you are, a being that has every right everyone else has, period. You are a special being.

  11. Kind of ironic arguing against any pretense of objectivity on this program (democracy now). I guess it makes senses here. Public stations supposedly do not new to a political line in exchange for tax payer funding. They do not. Eliminate all funding to NPR and PBS immediately.

  12. So Lewis Wallace gets fired for one blog post discussing journalistic objectivity, yet a yellow journalist like Milo Yiannopoulos can go around spewing hatred without consequence. What the fuck?

  13. If one ethnicity, gender, etc., defines what and how news stories can be discussed then that is biased reporting from the get go. The reporter was using a blog to open up a dialogue amongst the diverse sets of Reporters. Any one with authority will probably have the ability to shut down a discussion and determine talking points but that is definitely not neutral. How can there be a moral compass or objective reporting if a few in positions of authority simply hold up magnets?

  14. Wallace was pushing identity politics in an identity neutral publication and violated that publications guide lines so I don't have any compassion. And no, my tax payers dollars are not there to fund your war on white strait men. How the identity politics, liberal race baiting, socialist propaganda, anti-white smear campaign is allowed in any publicly funded news organization is beyond me. Public broadcasting claims to champion journalistic integrity yet every single day I drive home I can hear three or more stories that are anti-Trump in a span of three to ten minutes. I used to support NPR and shows like Democracy Now but after seeing the the total and complete bias I will forever vote for who ever defunds all public broadcasting.
    If this guy wants to know intimidation try weareing a Trump M.A.G.A. hat at a lefty rally and see how fast your fellow " hate fighters" put you in a hospital. Then you'll have something to write about.

  15. mik coffin does it make you feel tough to talk like this? People and talk like this is what makes this country look bad. The worst part of this kind of talk is that kids hear and see it.

  16. All serious journalists should oppose neutrality – you can't be neutral about a fact, that's just a form of intellectual cowardice. But no journalist should genuinely rail against objectivity, that's the cornerstone of journalism: regardless of what you personally think to be the case, you must report the facts as they are. The idea that objectivity's dead and you're happy about it is stupid. I think he meant to say neutrality's dead and I'm glad. If he'd said that, everyone would be on board

  17. Since when has the media "discussed whether trans people have a right to live in society"? The media has been very trans friendly, (as they should) look at the coverage of Caitlyn Jenner, the media made her a hero, and gave her awards. Even Donald Trump has come out in support of LGBT!!. Being trans didnt stop Lewis Wallace getting a job in the media. The media, and hollywood is full of gay people, they are over-represented in the media industry. Some people just want to be victims.

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