Is It So Wrong To Admit That Journalists Have Opinions Too?
from the hiding-them-doesn't-change-that dept
While we're on the subject, the whole thing seems based on this platonic ideal of journalism that involves the objective, unbiased reporter. The guidelines basically tell reporters and editors that they shouldn't say anything that suggests they actually have an opinion on something, and the editor who deleted his Twitterstream did so because it expressed an opinion on certain news events. But, it's time we got over this. Just because people pretend to be objective, it doesn't make them objective. Just because reporters claim to be unbiased, it doesn't make them unbiased.
Yes, it's great to strive to be as fair and impartial as possible. It's important to present as much as is reasonable as possible. But the bias is there. Pretending it isn't is ridiculous -- and, at times, damaging. It's what leads reporters to go overboard in trying to "present both sides of the story" even if one side is completely ridiculous. Reporters have too much trouble saying "wait, that's wrong." They just present what was said and move on, without ever digging into the truth. In the quest for impartiality, they've actually gotten away from providing accuracy and honesty. I'd much rather have reporters clearly state their bias and opinion, and then let others argue the points out.
And, of course, reporters and editors have always had opinions. It's why they have an editorial page, after all. But, even more important, it's bias and opinion that goes into determining what story makes the front page, or the middle page or gets spiked. It's about how the "facts" of the story are presented. There's bias everywhere. Asking reporters to bite their tongue and not actually say what they think doesn't negate the bias, and it doesn't help readers/viewers/listeners get any closer to what's real. It's just a way of avoiding responsibility, avoiding the community, and avoiding doing a good job. In the meantime, as newer publications (mostly online) do away with the ridiculous idea that a party can be fully impartial, the community of people who consume and share and spread and make and comment on the news are going there. Because that's where "the news" is best presented.