But just because some journalists use drugs, does that mean they are not qualified to report on the matter without risking their own career or future employment opportunities with disclosure? First, there’s the fact that members of Congress—elected by their constituents to serve them honorably—should probably be held to a higher standard than lowly journalists (bias alert). It’s altogether possible that the world would be a worse place if even fewer reporters felt they had the ability to call out the most powerful members of our society.
Plus, as managing editor of the Washington City Paper Jonathan Fischer puts it, he just doesn’t quite see the conflict.
“Current or past drug use doesn’t necessarily have any bearing on how well one does one’s job, so in the abstract, I simply don’t see it as a bias or condition worth disclosing,” he says. “Unless the reporter is secretly the vice president for communications of the cocaine lobby, the fact that he has done cocaine shouldn’t really matter much to his reporting on the drug, excerpt perhaps by giving him a better familiarity with the basic terms of art.”