Recently, it was announced that the Iowa House has approved a bill that prevents animal rights activists from getting hired on farms so they can secretly record any mistreatment of livestock.
I had two reactions to this news:
1.) I was outraged as an animal rights activist and animal lover.
2.) Is this the beginning of the dismissal of watchdog journalism?
I am personally a pescetarian, which is a person who does not eat any meat but does eat fish, and I have been one for the past 16 months. While I chose this for many reasons, one reason in particular is because I personally feel horrible eating meat. I don’t condemn other people who do eat meat because I used to be one of those people, so that’d be a bit hypocritical n’est pas?
So naturally, I hope that if animals are being slaughtered for food that it is done in the most “humane” way possible. I believe if people are uncovering injustices and unethical practices being done on farms, or anywhere for that matter, then they should not be so harshly prosecuted. If what they find is truthful, why condemn them for their findings? Is it because people would rather ignore what is being done to their food? Or is it because they don’t want to explain to their kids why Bambi is screaming?
I understand that there are cases where people went to extreme measures to obtain footage of a certain farm or farmer, or people exaggerated or fabricated footage, as well…but should those spare negative instances really hinder the rest of journalists and activists who are just doing what they believe is for the good of the animals and for the public?
Where do we draw the ethical line?
The world and the United States depend on watchdog journalists to expose the wrongdoings and corruption of others that many don’t know about or overlook. Without those journalists checking everything out we are allowing ourselves to be ignorant to reality. Granted, every story and every situation is subjective but there have been more instances where watchdog journalism has done extreme GOOD for our society and our government.
Now with the expansion of technology and the Internet, watchdog journalism can also expand but can also be abused, thus prompting people to be more cautious and hesitant to exposing what they know. There will always be at least TWO sides to every story and everyone knows that and yet we still find it extremely difficult to acknowledge those two sides.
If anyone can be a journalist, then how do we know what is true watchdog journalism?