Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Why the press should abandon all pretense of "objectivity"
First of all, there is no such thing as objectivity. Any person (that is, a "subject") is inescapably subjective in their view of the world. If the press gave up the lie of objectivity, then I would be far more interested in what they had to say. As it currently works, in order to understand the "news" article I read (or hear or watch), I first have to decipher just where the author is standing as she makes her observations. Only then am I going to get anywhere close to approximating an understanding of what it is she is observing. That she steadfastly refuses to tell me where she's standing (or that she's even standing anywhere at all) makes it that much more energy and time consuming for me to read her report. (Incidentally, I think this has a whole lot to do with the reported "campaign news fatigue" that reporters are wringing their hands over.)

What would be better: News organizations (and reporters, by association) should just come out and say what side they're on. Besides the fact that I could decipher their reporting better, it would actually force some of them to do better reporting. Of course, there would be the inevitable few organizations that would simply become out and out organs of vitriol against the opponents. But the organizations that wanted to change people's views on things would be forced to write articles that were more thoughtful and balanced in order to gain a hearing by the "opposition". Essentially, a Republican author, trying to persuade a Democrat, would have to faithfully represent the Democrat position before making the Republican case. The author would know that a Democrat would recognize a straw man and immediately reject the rest of the Republican's propositions.

Not that I think this will happen anytime soon. Most big-name reporters seem to prefer patronizing the public by making sure the unwashed masses recieve the "truth" from them.

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