Sunday, April 24, 2005

Objectively Speaking, I Have an Opinion

Just when I was going to complain about the lack of objectivity in today’s media, most obviously print and TV journalism, I was confronted by a brilliant opposing point of view. It is in the op-ed piece written by the Publisher of The Nation, Victor Navasky in today’s Los Angeles Times. Titled, "Objectivity Is Highly Overrated," it describes a treatise written about the history of opinion journals starting in Europe, by a German author, and Navasky relates that work to today’s shouting talk shows and print journals including his own The Nation. What results is a very different outlook on what objectivity really is in terms of information and dissemination, and how opinions in the media have historically led to a closer version of the truth than “just the facts, Ma’am.”

Navasky quotes some fairly major brains in the field of history and journalism to make his point. One of his rhetorical question/conclusions is

“Suppose the information that democracy requires can be generated not by 'the facts' but only by the rigorous and vigorous policy debate and moral argument that journals of opinion were founded to provide?”
Regardless of your opinion on the subject of “fair and balanced” journalism as it may exist, Navasky’s opinion is highly worth reading.

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