In this essay I argue that a better understanding of the basis of journalistic professionalism lies in the combination of two ideological formations. First, we have the process of professional socialization of journalists, leading to a delimited range of voices and self-censorship. This formation alone is insufficient, however, as occasional self-criticism and scepticism of journalistic professional norms is needed. I argue that Žižek’s concept of ideology as fetishistic disavowal (that is, being able to actively admit the limitations of one’s ideology as long as one still follows it) is a necessary complement to the idea of ideology as indirect control. This is done with an examination of the discourses used by 20 US and UK-based political journalists to answer seven different interview questions.