journalists who report the news
By ANSHEL PFEFFER, Jerusalem Post
It was odd timing for this article to appear in the Jerusalme Post today. I had just responded to a poster on Matthew J. Roberts blog, Politics of Prudence INRE his op-ed, "The Decline of Mainstream Media".
Said blogger, "Jim Freedom", poo-poo'ed my desire for the press to return to objective reporting as impossible.
Do you still imagine that ANY media could EVER be NOT slanted? All that is said or written is slanted and will always be. The only real question is are you gullible enough to believe it?
The awake person will question everything and believes nothing.
"Jim Freedom", by the tone of his previous post, tends to lean more left than right. But I do agree. To have a totally objective media is impossible since mankind is incapable of such. But I do think he and I differ in his belief that we have no recourse but to allow the media and their personal agenda run amok, and run roughshod over policy, elections and public opinion. To let this continue unabated will grant far too much power to an unofficial "4th branch of power" who has no oversight and offers even less remedy for a public wronged.
The danger of an agenda-laden MSM is applicable to all Americans, regardless of party affiliation. And as we've all being indoctrinated, slowly but surely, to accept speculation and op-ed as "news" over the past decades, the only way back to traditional journalistic practices may have to come to a revamping of journalism curriculums. Obviously they are churning out more editorialists than corresondents today, and any semblence of objective reporting has met it's death knell.
Comes Pfeffer... echoing my own laments in Israel media. But with it comes another solution for the "all speculation, all opinion, 24/7" problem.
Have all journalists publicly proclaim their political beliefs. That way readers and listeners can at least put their reporting in perspective.
In an age of political non-involvement, the influence of journalists on voters' perceptions of the political agenda, as well as their power to interpret reality and explain the parties' actions and intentions, become crucial factors in the decision-making process of every voter.
Those who still believe in the old-fashioned notion of an objective press will no doubt object to any demand of journalists to confess to their own political leanings.
But, of course, human beings are not objective and only a robot can disconnect professional conduct from private beliefs. The most we can and should expect from journalists is fairness. Total objectivity is impossible.
If journalists were to share their votes with the public, it would have three main benefits. It would enable readers and viewers to be more critical of the news of the coverage and analyses on offer; reporters and commentators would be more cautious and circumspect, knowing that biased reporting would be connected to their own beliefs; and the managers of news organizations would be able to ensure that their journalists aren't enlisted for any cause.
It would also influence their hiring policy in order to make sure that their team of journalists didn't represent only one side of the political debate.
But if all journalists brought their politics out into the open, it would be much more difficult to stop someone's promotion because of his or her beliefs. And as to the influence of journalist-celebrities, which they already use discreetly under the surface, clear political identities would help the public "read" the covert signals much better.
To a great degree, the Israeli media have lost their moral claim to act as non-involved bystanders in the upcoming elections.
It's an interesting solution. And one that I would support for our own media. At least an unsuspecting public would have a chance to discern truth in all the BS being passed off as news today.