Modern journalism is rooted in the 19th
century's industrial era and the thinking of the age of progress. As a
result, the ideology of reporters tends to be liberal and progressive.
Oftentimes, this perspective colors the events that become stories.
"Reporting was an invention
of the end of the nineteenth century, but it was a two-part invention:
the emergence of the new occupation played off against the
industrialization of the newspaper. And while there was much that
united the ideology of reporters, there was much that divided the
identities of the newspapers for which they worked."
Michael Schudson, "Stories and Information: Two Journalisms in the
1890s," in Discovering the News, (NY: Basic Books) 1978, p. 88
Media objectivity is an important, but often misunderstood, concept for
journalists. The term "objectivity" as applied to journalism came into
being in the 1920s. It was never meant to suggest that journalists were
objective. It came into use as a call for journalists to develop a
better, more rigorous, almost scientific method of reporting. The
concept was born out of a growing recognition that journalists
themselves could never be objective, which is all the more reason for
development of a methodology for purging the reporter's subjective
views from factual reporting of events.
But some journalists tend to use the notion that personal objectivity
cannot be accomplished as an excuse to abandon all efforts to achieve
any degree of objectivity. These journalists seek to refute the idea of
objectivity. A New York Times reporter said,
"I don't think there is any
such thing as objective truth in what we do. There may be quantifiable
truths in science. This is not a science, this is a human endeavor that
relies on perspective."
The Chicago Tribune publisher Jack Fuller once said,
"Almost nobody talks about
objective reporting anymore. The term suggested that journalism was
meant to be so utterly disinterested as to be transparent. The report
was to be virtually the thing itself, unrefracted by the mind of the
reporter. This, of course, involved a hopelessly naive idea from the
There is a "media culture." Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online
"But the simple fact is
that everyone knows the big-league media leans to the left. Even
liberals know it. A Lou Harris poll revealed that 70 percent of
self-described liberals think the media tilts to the left. Meanwhile, a
Freedom Forum survey found that 89 percent of journalists voted for
Bill Clinton in 1992. Their professional heroes — Cronkite, Daniel
Schorr, A. J. Liebling, and, most damning, I. F. Stone (see this for
more on Izzy) — are uniformly liberal or left-wing." (NRO,
Goldberg Variations, Notes and an announcement on media bias, 12-3-01
Journalism. Liberal, progressive, lacking in objectivity … and
reporting to the world not what is … but what they want to see and what
they see through their own filters.
Do you believe everything you read in the paper?
Do you believe the Press could be doing a much better job?
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