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December 9, 2004

Media Objectivity

In 1949 the FCC adopted the Fairness Doctrine, which created the ideal that journalists report news in a fair and balanced way. This model of journalism has dominated the media ever since. However, there are many that would argue that objectivity actually discourages the entire truth from being reported. For example, including certain facts in a story might lead the reader/viewer to sense a bias. Should the journalist include the fact to make the story more complete, or should the journalist leave it out for the sake of keeping the story completely objective. Another common argument against objectivity is that it makes journalists apprehensive to report something new and possibly controversial in fear of being labeled biased. Dan Rather's unsuccessful attempt at doing so recently backfired, and reaffirmed the belief of many that he is leaning left.
So what is the right way to cover the news? Should objectivity remain an ideal or should the public be responsible for spotting biases and making up their own mind? Perhaps different types of media should have different ideals. The network newscasts could remain objective, while cable news could be subjective. Any ideas?

Posted by beng0061 at December 9, 2004 3:39 PM


You pose a great question. I have a hard time with this as well. I think that it's important for news to be objective, because many people don't care to find out the facts for themselves so they trust newspeople to bring the facts to them. My sister is an example of this. :) I love her dearly, but she will believe anything anyone tells her, so when she watches a movie that is extremely far-fetched but comes across as factual, she believes every word. I think the idea of using cable shows for outlets of subjectivity and using network shows to give the solid facts is the closest we will get to a fair solution. I think many times the way in which one portrays the facts can still offer a very clear view of their opinions. :)

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