Jason Lee Whitlock is a personality for Fox Sports 1 and blogger for J.School. He's a former sportswriter for ESPN, and a former columnist at the Kansas City Star, AOL Sports, and Foxsports.com.
Journalism is its own religion. Journalists, particularly those over the age of 40, answered a calling.
When I sat inside my journalism classes at Ball State University, I dreamed of reaching my 40s as a columnist at the Indianapolis Star and earning $70k. There was no Internet, no dream of being a national sports columnist or a broadcaster of any kind. I wanted to be my hometown’s Mike Royko.
A career in journalism fit my upbringing and worldview. Like Royko, I wanted to be a voice for the little guy, someone who challenged authority the way Royko confronted Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s political machine.
Journalism’s “voice for the voiceless” tenet matched the principles taught in my grandmother’s tiny church.
Proverbs 31 verses 8 and 9 say: “Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” That’s the King James version. The common English translation says: “Speak out on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable. Speak out in order to judge with righteousness and to defend the needy and the poor.”
Here’s how I interpret the verses: Society targets the poor and the needy for destruction and exploitation in ways the poor and needy do not recognize (dumb), which makes them voiceless in their own defense. Speak out on their behalf and righteously call out their exploiters.
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