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BLOG 6: Objectivity

This blog prompt touches back on the “is the media biased?” one. Similar to media bias, ideally journalists and the media should be objective, but realistically it is near-impossible to find a completely objective news network. However, I think clearly nonobjective news sources should give their public a little more respect by at least admitting they are broadcasting to a certain constituency. The fact that Fox News still touts the idea that it is”fair and balanced” is laughable and, frankly, insulting to the intelligence of the viewers ( MSNBC‘s claim to objectivity is also hard to buy, though their slogan is less brazenly critique-able). As I said, it would be ideal for news sources to be objective, but they usually aren’t. Overtly-biased sources such as the aforementioned networks should at least own up to the fact that they are not objective and should market themselves as left-or right-wing networks, because those are their true natures.

I do feel, however, that some news sources make a decent attempt at being objective. The interview we read for today starts out with a preface mentioning how NPR fired Juan Williams on the grounds that he, “had violated the organization’s belief in impartiality“. The fact that Mr. Williams was hired by Fox soon thereafter attests to the fact that he may not have been very objective. While NPR is hardly 100% objective, moves like that signify an interest in being so. I have found that NPR usually does do a very good job being impartial, and politics is rarely the station’s primary focus anyways.

I do agree (to an extent) with Jay Rosen’s idea that, “If in doing the serious work of journalism–digging, reporting, verification, mastering a beat–you develop a view, expressing that view does not diminish your authority. It may even add to it.” The most important part of news journalism is “digging, reporting [and] verification”. And if a person is doing their job correctly, they will report honest news that they may not have objectivity towards. However, I feel that the majority of news networks preach in their own interest, don’t do the needed investigation to do so, and still tout themselves as “objective”.

In the end, I agree with Ben Smith’s pluralistic idea that “… ideological and neutral journalism can flourish side by side, each going places the other is unwelcome, and each correcting for the other’s weaknesses.” The objectivity that NPR strives for is important (and certainly hard to maintain), but the no-holds-barred nonobjective views of other news networks is realistic (if only they would admit what they are doing).

  1. March 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Nice post. Good overview of the current news media environment and discussion of the issues related to objectivity.

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