Maybe so, but it takes a lot of training to manipulate film, and most of it is 'acceptable darkroom processing' such as contrast, dodge, burn etc. while anyone with a PC, a program, and fingers can manipulate digital data, and often do, then claim it a 'great photo' ...
My artistic side agrees, 'great art' [well, sometimes ], but my journalist side says 'not truth' ... and we fight amongst ourselves in my brain a lot. Personally, I'd never manipulate a photo and sell it as 'news media', but I play with my images a lot, both on the PC and in the darkroom, just for the fun of it, the pure joy of the art part.
Just because images are easier to manipulate now digitally doesn't mean they shouldn't be. There is no degree of difficulty a photographer must endure to earn the right to edit a photo. The truth is photography for me is art and expression. Sometimes I want to express myself through the way I saw a scene in my mind, or the feeling I get from the scene. Photography is art, not religion. There is not only one path to truth.
The thing I find is that people make up all these rules that they say the masters would use years and years ago and forget that these masters were often making their own path, not following the crowd at the time. It's time we as photographers stopped quoting Ansel Adams. I have much respect for him but he had his own path and we have ours. There are no boundaries in Art, only the ones we impose on ourselves.
I know that you aren't against the art part as you stated but don't peg all photography into the same category. And yes, I agree with you that photojournalism shouldn't involve heavy edits and should try to maintain purity. There are other scenes that should remain less retouched as well. I believe that we shouldn't tell others that they can't use photoshop because you can't in your photography. We are all unique and have our own path.
I hope it doesn't sound like I'm having a go at you either because I'm not. Hopefully a smiley face will convince you of that
I suppose that's the whole issue I have with this photographers list. Tell people that "this is the way I do it" and "this is the way I have found works best." Don't make a list acting like there is only one way to work.