Is anger a job requirement for reporters?

Mary Mapes on WNYC this afternoon was asked about whether she had it in for George Bush. Her answer was that journalists always “have it in for” those in power. Is that so? Questioning power, yes. Challenging power. OK. Questioning power. Absolutely. But attacking? That moment was a journalist Rorshach test, for it uncovered a belief that is all too common in the craft: that it is the journalist’s job to oppose. It shouldn’t be the journalist’s job to oppose anymore than it is to praise. It is the journalist’s job to ask the powerful the questions we want asked, whether they want to answer or not. That is quite different from “having it in” for them.