I voted then & now

I was a journalist for 37 years and I covered elections as a reporter — including George Wallace briefly — and later I directed political coverage as an editor. I also voted every chance I got.

I’m proud of it.

This issue comes up because the New York Times published a piece on how its political reporters attempt to remain impartial during election season. Peter Baker, its chief White House correspondent, said: “As reporters, our job is to observe, not participate, and so to that end, I don’t belong to any political party, I don’t belong to any non-journalism organization, I don’t support any candidate, I don’t give money to interest groups and I don’t vote.”

I have always been a Democrat, although once I became editor, the publisher told me to re-register as an Independent. (I didn’t do it.) I didn’t want to give anyone the impression that I was campaigning so I never gave money to an interest group or political candidate. I did not put up any yard signs in support of any candidate or issue.

But I did vote.

I’ve always had opinions, and it would be silly to suggest that I didn’t. I didn’t think that was enough to disqualify me from voting or doing my job, for that matter.

Michael Kinsley addressed this 20 years ago.

Eric Wemple at the Washington Post quoted U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson – referring to a juror that President Trump tweeted as biased – as saying, “Having an opinion about the president and some or even all his policies does not mean that she couldn’t fairly or impartially judge the evidence against Roger Stone.”

That’s the way I feel about voting.