June 2nd, 2016
(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pure objectivity in news is an impossibility, and pursuit of such pure objectivity is a fool’s errand.
As you pointed out, the editorial process in which a selection is made between newsworthy items is highly subjective. Every day only a few news items make it onto the front page, and there cannot possibly be a neutral metric that can determine which ones.
Journalism doesn’t just provide the facts, it also has an obligation to educate and inform the readers. Impartiality — simply printing two opposing viewpoints side-by-side — doesn’t work. After all, giving equal weight to the opinion of a respected biologist and a evolution skeptic will mislead the readership by implying there is a serious debate where there is none.
Even the process of selecting which authors get published in the opinion pages is subject to highly ideological forces. By necessity.
A higher emphasis on data doesn’t fix any of these issues. So instead media should be more upfront about their ideological perspective. The pretense of neutral objectivity doesn’t serve anybody. To the contrary, delivering an ideological message in a package of neutral data-driven approach is pernicious. Pernicious because it allows the readers to believe they’re the reasonable and fact-based party, while those people are ideological fools. In reality we’re all highly illogical and ideological creatures and we should be honest about this, to ourselves and to others.