Lewis Wallace, the only transgender reporter working at public radio’s Marketplace, was fired for this blog post questioning whether journalistic neutrality was a futile ideal:
Obviously, I can’t be neutral or centrist in a debate over my own humanity. The idea that I don’t have a right to exist is not an opinion, it is a falsehood. On that note, can people of color be expected to give credence to “both sides” of a dispute with a white supremacist, a person who holds unscientific and morally reprehensible views on the very nature of being human? Should any of us do that?
Referees for sporting matches can be neutral because they don’t have any stake in the game. The same could be said for generations of straight white reporters as they covered civil rights and gay equality. In their hearts, they might be rooting for one side, but it was obvious how to keep their personal viewpoints out of their stories.
In writing about the firing, Wallace points to the Marketplace ethics code. This seems to be the relevant clause:
Marketplace staffers must keep their political views private.
How, exactly? As a transgender person, Wallace’s existence has a political dimension. The same holds true for an African-American, a woman who uses a wheelchair, or an immigrant with an accent.
The ability to keep one’s political views private is a privilege not everyone has.
Marketplace fired a reporter for daring to point that out.