J500 Media and the Environment

News Reporting Objectivity…Put a Fork in it by jasonmer

Objectivity in journalism assumes that truth is equidistant from two competing viewpoints.  Without a vacuum available for journalistic objectivity to operate, the sword of sensationalism wields its sharp edge on truth and skews perceptions of reality.  Search for objectivity in today’s news media environment quickly leads to confusion and bewilderment for the casual observer.

Bias from the Left?

Bias from the Left?

I can watch two different channels on television (CNN and FOX News) and get two different interpretations of the same news story.

Do you remember who won the 2008 Vice-Presidential Debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden?

Depends on whether you watched CNN or FOX News after the debate.  FOX News’ Bill O’Reilly gave the victory to Sarah Palin while CNN’s political analyst Carl Bernstein gave the victory to Joe Biden.  Observation of each network in the days following the debate revealed similar bias throughout their programming on the victor. 

All major pollsters, regardless of alleged or stated political bias, showed Joe Biden won the debate. 

Bias from the Right?

Bias from the Right?

Reporting bias on FOX News and CNN are commonplace.  Examples include lightening rod environmental problems like climate change where CNN and FOX News differ dramatically in their reporting; or the socially charged issue of government taxation and spending that played out via “tea partys” on April 15th, 2009.  Both networks grasp to their own glorified version of objectivity.  So who is right?  I think they both are right.  I just wouldn’t call it journalistic objectivity.  Objectivity has been lost; specifically when it comes to politics and social issues.

Advocacy in journalism is replacing objectivity.  New and diverse means of communication provide a voice to anyone who wants a journalistic license; I use the term “license” loosely.  The voiceless can have a voice; the voice that has gone unchecked now receives balance.  Journalists engaging in stories that evoke personal passion shouldn’t be silent observers, but to what extent should transparency, statement of personal bias, and balanced reporting be a part of the discourse?  An uninformed casual observer can be easily influenced by the current media landscape.

Jason Merckling