We've been hearing a lot about transparency lately. Governor Ducey has decided not to maintain an 8th floor Visitors Log. Additionally, House Republicans have voted to change the rules so that they can occasionally caucus in private--a practice that the Democratic Caucus has been doing for years.
Naturally, the media are up in arms and their point seems to be that even though the process is much more open than it was even a few years ago, and even though there are no requirements that all the caucuses remain open and all the visitors be tracked, it's just somehow better if all that stuff is in the open.
Fair enough. Now let's go back to high school where we learned that the media comprise a "Fourth Branch" of government or as it's sometimes known a "Fourth Estate."
It sure seems to me that if it's appropriate for the Legislature and Governor to conduct their work in the open, it's appropriate for the news media to do the same. Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming that the media HAVE to do their work in the open. And I'm not saying that anyone could FORCE them to do their work in the open. I'm just saying that since they consider themselves to be an integral part of the policy making process and since they have a special role in American Government and since they are constantly touting the virtues of openness, they should be at least as open as the Government bodies that they like to criticize.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not arguing that they should disclose sources, or meet in public when they receive legal advice, negotiate contracts or discuss personnel issues. However it seems fair that when the editorial board meets with policy makers, they should make those discussions available. And when the editorial board discusses the issues on which the will opine or meets with candidates whom they plan to endorse, those discussions should be open.
I'd also like to see the log of who meets with various members of the paper's leadership team. Don't get me wrong, I'm not asking that the media go to the extra work of keeping a log. They already keep a log at their security desks. I would simply like to see the log.
And I'm certainly not asking newspapers to display the same transparency that Legislators and the Executive currently display. For example, I'm not going issue an Open Records request for Randy Lovely's business calendar. I'm not going to claim that I have a right to Mary Jo Pitzl's emails or Howie Fischer's text messages. It's not like that time that Laurie Roberts published Mike Haener's texts....stuff like that really blows.
No, I'm asking for the basic level of transparency that the Legislature and Executive have followed for years.
Surely the media will recognize that they should at least attempt to live by the standard that they require of others.
Unless of course this harping, carping, whining and swooning is just so much BS.....