The real hypocrisy of Nepotism
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday Aug. 9, 2013
By Ray Hanania
I am always amazed at how the mainstream news media loves to complain about “nepotism,” the practice of helping a relative get a job.
The way the media talks against it, you would think they hate it. But they don’t. In fact, the biggest practitioners of nepotism is the news media. The news media went berserk decrying the decision by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint State Rep. Deb Mell as the successor to her father, Ald. Dick Mell, in the Chicago City Council.
Deb Mell and her father have repeatedly put their actions to the votes of the public and the public has repeatedly affirmed their leadership at the polling place. I like both of them. They’re good public servants, far better than their media critics.
The media is worse, and they are not elected by anyone, except by their own colleagues, relatives and cronies. The media refuses to cover stories about media nepotism. News media criticism is a one-way street made by them against others. And, they assert that nepotism in government is wrong because it involves taxpayer dollars.
Ironically, the media can’t claim there is a substantive difference between government nepotism and nepotism in private business because business also thrives on public funds.
The real difference is that no one gets to elect the media, but politicians accused of nepotism must run for re-election all the time. And guess what? The public doesn’t care much about government nepotism because they re-elect the politicians quite often.
I also argue that if the media were required to “run for their jobs” the way politicians do, they would not get re-elected and would be fired by the public.
The public recognizes that the news media is filled with hypocrites, including many who have broken the law. But these media criminals often get away with their conduct because the media has a stronger policy of Omerta than organized crime.
Reporters celebrate when the son or daughter of one of their media colleagues gets a prestigious media job that thousands of others with no clout compete for but are excluded because they are not related to someone.
Chicago Alderman Mike Zalewski made a great point the other day when he told a reporter, whose husband has benefited from her reporting, that he is concerned about nepotism, and then named four of the city’s top reporter dynasties as the primary violators, noting he’s been “interviewed by two generations of Jordan’s, Ponce’s, Jiggetts and Weigel’s.”
Was there criticism of those political media families and their nepotism? No. Of course not. The political media doesn’t permit public debate on that.
Better qualified and better trained candidates for media jobs are excluded from those jobs all the time, specifically because they are not related to anyone. The news media is an exclusive club of vengeful ivory tower insiders who prize clout and nepotism when it benefits them, and criticizes it when it involves others outside their industry.
Nepotism isn’t the only problem the media has, as I mentioned. Some are outright liars. Others have stolen. Others have violated fundamental journalism principles, hiding their conflicts of interest.
That’s why according to many polls over the years, the public holds the news media in low esteem, far lower than they hold politicians and government officials.
Maybe that’s why the media is so relentless in making only one side of nepotism the story and protecting their own unethical and unprincipled misconduct.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com. Follow him on twitter at @RayHanania.)
Categories: Chicagoland Topics