From their perches in the United States, safe, comfortable, well-paid Pharisees are questioning whether it’s appropriate for Jesus to heal on the Sabbath. (scroll down to verse 10).
Oops. Wrong century. Wrong continent. Wrong group of naysayers. Actually, in this instance, it’s journalism Pharisees. And they’re right here in 2010. And they’re knocking CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Gupta’s sin? He’s healing Haitian earthquake victims live on cable news.
Gupta can’t be a reporter and a doctor, they sniff. Why? Well, one of the Fundamental Truths of the Church of Journalism is that journalists should cover news, not make news. Objectivity. Neutrality. Detachment. Etc.
This principle works great in most instances. It works fine when you’re covering a story with two sides. Left vs. right. Conservative vs. liberal. Republican vs. Democrat. Rich vs. Poor.
But this isn’t the right approach for responding to a natural disaster because there aren’t two sides to a disaster. In these instances, inaction, impassivity, neutrality aren’t just bad journalism. They are, potentially, evil.
Let the experts, safe in the United States, grumble. Let the naysayers, who don’t smell the stench of death second guess. Let the know-it-alls, with full refrigerators and warm beds, criticize.
Sanjay Gupta should follow his conscience and the Hippocratic Oath while he’s in Haiti.
After the ethicists in the United States are finished critiquing the good doctor, perhaps they’ll be able to tell us how many journalists can dance on the head of a pin…