Can Journalism Preserve Truth over Appearances?

Are you a parent? Do you deal with two squabbling kids by assuming it takes two to fight, so you scold them both?

That may be good parenting. But it’s bad journalism.

Traditional Journalism is obviously threatened by technology, the crumbling of media advertising economics, distraction of blurring lines between online gossip and news, the cult of celebrity … we all pretty much understand that … but is partisan politics and the illusion of middle ground a bigger threat that we don’t even realize?

James Poniewozik Time Magazines Both Sides

I was struck over the weekend by what I thought was a brilliant alert in a Time Magazine column by James Poniewozik, media critic. Reflecting on Journalism and media, he asks:

What do you do when the facts of a situation are such that to describe them accurately will make you sound biased?

He add this:

This month’s fiscal crisis is one such situation. One party (in fact, essentially one wing of the Republican party), seeking the elimination or delay of Obamacare, precipitated a government shutdown and threatened to force a default on U.S. debt. Period.

That’s the situation. To accurately describe it, as news coverage should, is not to endorse an ideology.

And your reaction to that depends on your politics. Right? If you accept his summary, then you’re in the Obama, Jon Stuart, Bill Maher camp. If you object, you’re in the opposite camp with Fox News and friends.

So where’s truth in this? What’s the right reporting for the professional journalists?




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