Objectivity vs. The Truth

I wanted to comment (a little late) on this article that we read for class a few weeks ago.

Blogger David Weinberger discusses the issue of objectivity in the media. I really felt like (since I didn’t blog about this issue before) that right now, with everything that’s going on in the Boston area, is the perfect time to re-read this article and delve into Weinberger’s argument on objectivity.

He pretty much says that because of the ways technology has changed is outdating the idea of objectivity. “What we used to believe because we thought the author was objective we now believe because we can see through the author’s writings to the sources and values that brought her to that position,” he says, “Transparency gives the reader information by which she can undo some of the unintended effects of the ever-present biases. Transparency brings us to reliability the way objectivity used to.”

However, we talked about in class how the SPJ Code of Ethics includes nothing about objectivity. Why is it so important for journalists to be objective then? It literally is an unwritten rule. And can it even be achieved? I’d argue that either way bias will seep in no matter how objective you try to be.

Think about the Boston Marathon bombings this past week. I’m not sure if there is a single news outlet that didn’t let any form of bias seep into their coverage at some point.

Another point I’d like to talk about is how the media reports the truth today. There seems to be a sentiment throughout all of the different news stations that there is a sort of”it’s okay if you’re wrong, as long as you get the story right in the end” mentality in the media. I think this is ethically worse for journalists than not being objective.

As demonstrated by Deadspin Wednesday, when they published a video on their site entitled “Today’s Boston Bombing Media Shitshow, in 90 Seconds.” I think this video shows that there are many outlets that want to be the first to break new information and will stick by it even if other sources say otherwise.

This issue I think is the most major issue with mass media journalism today. How can we be so quick to accept the things these mass media news outlets say if all they care about is being the first to break a story?



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