Objectivity redux

Just posted something in another forum that seemed worth repeating. It still makes a little bit of sense out of context:

Too many self-proclaimed media watchdogs take a tone in which any bit of uncomfortable reading is just another “lie of the liberal media,” and that creates a poisonous atmosphere in which whatever well-intentioned journalists are left in the field are doomed to fail.

Let’s back up to a funny (and common) occurrence when you’re on the other side of the complaint window: So often, readers assume they know the ideological bent of a reporter or manager, and they’re laughably wrong. The Republican/conservative/non-Clinton-supporting journalists I’ve known are often just as likely to attract “liberal bias” claims as anyone else. Why? Because they do their job, holding everyone accountable and giving pre-eminence to the facts.

And that, not “getting both sides,” is true objectivity. If one “side” takes a position that the reporter knows to be nonsense, it’s the reporter’s obligation to say so.

And that’s the point of the CJR article. Nothing less, nothing more.

BTW — things did improve a bit since Colonial times, sort of. During the Civil War, newspapers were still partisan scandal sheets. As time went on, newspapers found there was money to be made in being the voice of reason. Those newspapers ran the partisan rags out of business, and most towns became one-paper towns. Then the papers HAD to be all things to all people. They were objective, though some would say they were dull. Now, their dullness is being exploited by smaller papers and TV stations without such a sense of responsibility.

That’s the brief history — I’ll let others decide if that’s “improvement.”

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