If You can’t handle the Truth, will They still print it?

“News is what somebody wants to suppress. All the rest is advertising”.
-Lord Northcliffe
It is Wednesday and I want to watch today’s news. I want to know what is going on. One click of the DirecTV remote and I have 30 channels of news. MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, HLN, the list goes on. In a perfect world this situation would be easy to fix. Any network would have some story that would help me figure out what is going on outside. I could watch between the channels and feel like I knew what was occurring. But today changing channels makes things foggy and unclear. Fox is conservative. CNN is liberal. HLN only shows tragedies… and most stories dispute or disprove something running as breaking news on another channel. What happened to objectivity?
The journalism textbook my communications class uses has an entire chapter and a half on opinion vs. fact/fairness. The author, Tim Harrower, preaches the use of factual, concise reporting. Harrower advises that opinions should only run in movie reviews (except for the use of colorful adjectives to characterize situations and make an article easier to digest). Objective reporting is portrayed as the most important part of a good foundation in ethical journalism.
In every major practice or discipline, from law to pharmacology, ethics and morals are a BIG DEAL. So why has objectivity become a difficult thing to find? Why isn’t objectivity an ethic, or moral?
In 2005 Dan Gillmor wrote on objectivity, calling it “a construct of recent times”. Gillmor proposed throwing out the goal of objectivity. Gillmor proposed “[The] pillars of good journalism: thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and transparency.” Gillmor’s proposal creates a strong base to create fair and objective articles. I do not think we need to ‘throw out’ objectivity, but to take Gillmor’s pillars and use them to redefine it. Thorough and active reporting based off of transparent research that fairly depicts the situation is objective
News should not be that sensational. Let me know what happened, let me know how it affected people, and then let me know why I care. Then I can go and go to another channel to hear how it is being interpreted by obviously biased TV personalities. Objectivity should be thorough, accurate writing fairly depicted with transparent sources and research. That is what I want to read. Not the super-sensational slop that is scientifically designed to be catchy and interesting…
…But until that day comes, I’ll stick to the 11:00 nightly news on CBS. It’s got slop, but at least no one is paid to offer me their opinion (I hope).


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