Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2003
This essay calls for consideration of a “new” professional journalistic virtue: militant tolerance. The historic and philosophical foundations of tolerance is reviewed, and the concept of militant tolerance linked to Gandhi’s construction of “truth force” as a form of political action. Journalistic militant tolerance suggests that virtuous journalists will be those who recognize hate and systemic discrimination, particularly at the institutional level, and who work to counteract it in a professional role. This understanding of role emphasizes not just individual choice, but the stance that journalistic institutions (media corporations, professional groups) take to counteract intolerance reified in both individual and institutional acts. Philosophically, it places justice on a more equal footing with truth as a central professional value. The concept is examined through two case studies, one involving political rhetoric and the second journalistic use of whistleblowers.