Should Journalists Have Opinions?

Jay Rosen writes on PressThink something that I've long felt—that journalistic neutrality doesn't really exist, and it's much more important to demonstrate your integrity by acknowledging and disclosing your biases. I came t this conclusion back in the 1970s, when I'd go to peace rallies and then read coverage in the New York Times (my hometown newspaper at the time)—and wonder if the reporter and I had actually been at the same event. In fact, as a high school student, I got my first bylines writing about those same demonstrations, for a conservative underground newspaper that ran my stuff with disclaimers that I didn't represent their viewpoint. Both I and the editors were very clear about our biases, and I think it was better journalism as a consequence. [Why did they even run me? They took seriously their mandate to be an alternative voice, even to the point of running articles the disagreed with.]

 

Rosen quotes James Poniewozik of Time—a magazine that has historically been very quiet about its biases.

Modern political journalism is based on the bogus concept of neutrality (that people can be steeped in campaigns yet not care who wins) and the legitimate ideal of fairness (that people can place intellectual integrity and rigor over their rooting interests). Voting and disclosing would expose the sham of neutrality—which few believe anyway—and compel opinion and news writers alike to prove, story by story, that fairness is possible anyway. Partisans, bloggers and media critics are toxically obsessed with ferreting out reporters’ preferences; treating them as shameful secrets only makes matters worse.

_________________________________________________
—>Join the Business Ethics Pledge - Ten Years to Change the World,
One Signature at a Time  (please tell your friends)

I show the world the value in your values! Shel Horowitz, award-wining author,
Principled Profit: Marketing That Puts People First, http://www.principledprofit.com
Founder of the Business Ethics Pledge, http://www.business-ethics-pledge.org

Ethics Blog:  http://www.principledprofit.com/good-business-blog/
Books: http://www.frugalmarketing.com/shop.html

Add New Comment

6 Comments

  • احمد الحربي

    شات صوتي , مزاجي  كام دردشه , مزاجي صوتيه مزاجي , افضل شات صوتي خليجي واقوى تجمع شباب وبنات السعودية والكويت في شات فويس دردشة صوتية مزاجي كام اقوى شات في الوطن العربي تجمع خليجي عربي شات صوتي كامات صوتية مزاجي كام شات البحرين شبكة تجمع الخليج صوتية شات الاردن   chat voice.

    http://www.mzagycam.com
     

  • احمد الحربي

    شات صوتي , مزاجي  كام دردشه , مزاجي صوتيه مزاجي , افضل شات صوتي خليجي واقوى تجمع شباب وبنات السعودية والكويت في شات فويس دردشة صوتية مزاجي كام اقوى شات في الوطن العربي تجمع خليجي عربي شات صوتي كامات صوتية مزاجي كام شات البحرين شبكة تجمع الخليج صوتية شات الاردن   chat voice.

    http://www.mzagycam.com
     

  • Shel Horowitz

    Good question, April.

    Having been a working journalist, I think every journo interprets events through his/her own unique filter, based on experiences, exposure to various thinkers, and even where the journalist might be physically at an event.

    Thus, I think there will always be bias. My grandfather used to read all seven daily newspapers in NYC when my mom was growing up in the 1940s--in order to kind of average them out into something resembling truth. And I think the recent tendency in the blogosphere to give a roundup of different pieces on the same thing is a good idea.

    Of course, there are some outlets (Fox TV comes to mind) that deliberately skew the news with slanted, openly biased reportage--but they claim to be objective. That I think is very dangerous. It's much better to state your biases and let readers filter accordingly.

  • April Joyner

    Thanks for this. I wonder what your opinion is on bias in other types of journalism.