In ordinary life, if somebody says something objectionable, it may feel awkward to pull them up on it – but it’s probably the right thing to do.
Is it different for a journalist?
This week, somebody shared ugly racist sentiments with me and I offered no objection. I just looked blank. It’s something I’ve done many times.
Over the hours I was with this person, s/he said more, and worse, along the same lines.
I was surprised, because this person knew I was a journalist.
I feel ashamed that I didn’t “call it out”.
If I was a broadcast journalist, I’d have felt compelled to do that at once, lest I sounded/looked complicit.
But as a print journalist I tend to keep quiet and let people be themselves, and if that condemns them – so be it.
Was I right? Or am I deceiving myself? I don’t know.