The myth of impartiality in journalism…

I thought we’d lost this one to the distinctly inhospitable Daily Ireland archives. Thanks to Newshound, it has been recovered for the wider world. Jude Collins argues that there is no such thing as an impartial media. He recounts restrictions of space, ownership, and self censorship as sources of bias and finishes with the paradoxical proposition that objectivity in reporting is a myth that should be both dispelled and aspired towards:

Media people are human beings and each sees the world from his/her own perspective. To claim detachment is stupid and wrong. Worse still, though, would be to abdicate responsibility.

What journalists must do is, first of all, be honest about the lens through which they see the world; don’t insult the reader’s intelligence by claims of bogus impartiality. After that, they must struggle to present, if not all of the facts of the case, at least its major features.

And finally, they must rely on facts and logical argument in their writing, not on name-calling and abuse. In the end, impartial news reporting is a bit like the perfection of sainthood. Getting there may be beyond our powers but that doesn’t excuse us from trying, each day, every day.

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