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« The Business Model for Tomorrow's Journalism | Main | Credibility on the Table »

January 20, 2005


Mathias Hellsten

I like this article. It's time we realize that it's a myth that people can be "objective". But still we need to strive for the highest level of fairness and objectivity we can reach. :) Keep up the good work.

Mark Deuze

Perhaps we can use Jean Baudrillard here (I quote): "Theoretical violence, not truth, is the only resource left to us." In the context of journalism this would mean: if we accept for a moment that all mediated information is a construct/ an interpretation, (regardless how ethical the informer worked on it), we cannot attack nor defend journalism (as a process or product) using 'truth'. We can only, as Matthew said above, strive for the utmost diversity of interpretations in media.

Professional journalism is very much tied into the history of modernity with its emphasis on the possibility of a 'one size fits all' reading of events. Today's citizens either do not care, or have long moved on and created their own, individual readings of events. For journalism to survive, it has to embrace this mindset.

Rachel Pashkin

Thank you for putting into words what most concerned Americans have been thinking for years. Change has to begin somewhere.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has,"
-Margaret Mead

Tom Bradley

I think the main reason bloggers have jumped to support the "death of objectivity" argument is that it makes no sense as a guiding principle for their own activities. But I still believe it is necessary for traditional journalism to serve its democratic function.

People have come to equate objectivity with what I call "balance," and its appalling result - news stories that merely offer up statements from official sources on either side of the fence, with no true investigation or conclusion based on independent evidence. In fact, objectivity is the opposite. Look it up in Webster's; objectivity is a commitment to the idea that truth exists "outside the mind," that truth does exist outside the restriction of biases and prejudices. If journalists don't try to identify that independent, objective truth, then we are condemned to a journalism of conflicting truths, conflicting realities. The source of the information gains primacy -- the guy who thinks like me said this, so this must be true.

In a bipartisan (at least) political environment, some source is needed that says, "We have evaluated the objective reality of all statements, and here's the one that holds the most water." And that source must be trusted - its commitment to objectivity must be its primary raison d'etre. I fear we are headed now for a journalistic Tower of Babel, based on pre-existing, competing and combating world views with no hope of changing minds based on the presentation of objective truths from a trusted source.

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