Friday, June 25, 2010

Objectivity is a Lie

Illustration via Proof Positive

ob·jec·tive : expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations.

The Dave Weigel story has raised many questions, and has provoked much thought.

Q: Why did the Washington Post hire someone with uncontrollable disdain for conservatives and Republicans to cover conservatives and Republicans?

A: Where would they have found a reporter who doesn't have an uncontrollable disdain for conservatives and Republicans?

Objectivity is a nice idea, but I'm convinced it doesn't exist in the real world ― especially in politics. Political topics are much less cut–and–dry than scientific ones, and as climate-gate reminded us, even scientists struggle to be objective.

How can we expect journalists to investigate the political stories of the day without forming personal feelings, prejudices or interpretations? And when they inevitably develop their own personal views, how can we expect said journalists to keep those views entirely divorced from their work?

I say they can't. And I wonder why they should even try. Why should they fool themselves and deceive their readers with a veneer of neutrality?

Should they try to be "fair and balanced?" Surely. Should they present multiple viewpoints? Of course. Should they exclude their own opinions? I don't think so.

Readers should consider the writer's point-of-view when assessing the validity of the writing. But they can't do that if the writer's interpretation of the story is hidden behind a façade. So political writers should plainly state their own opinions.

Moreover, I think political writers should be prepared to provide full disclosure. Who do they plan to vote for in the next election? To which politicians have they contributed? All conflicts of interest and relevant financial relationships should be clearly identified. Follow Mika Brzezinski's example.

Whether he's covering local traffic or conservative politics, I don't care if any given reporter thinks that conservatives are amoral ratf*¢kers. I just don't want a journalist who holds that opinion to pretend that he's objective by camouflaging his hateful bias with seemingly neutral reportage.

So please don't fire reporters for their colorful hatred for conservatives, just tell them to stop lying to the readers by pretending to be "truly neutral reporters."


David Weigel Resigns From the Washington Post

Post loses standing among conservatives. (What standing?)

Weigel: "This would be a vastly better world to live in if Matt Drudge decided to handle his emotional problems more responsibly, and set himself on fire."

Excellent point: Weigel was explicitly urging his fellow journalists to operate as a closed media ecosystem that excludes competing political narratives.

Doctor Zero: They pretend to be commentators, but they’re actually players in the game… just like everyone else.

Memeorandum: Discussion

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The stupid does burn. The media has long been controlled by cultural Marxists. This story really does not surprise me.