Journalism Deny Bias – Nobody Buys It

Mike Masnick has a nice piece on the crock of journalistic unbiased-ness:

Is It So Wrong To Admit That Journalists Have Opinions Too?
from the hiding-them-doesn’t-change-that dept

There was a big kerfuffle in the journalism world over the weekend, as it was revealed late Friday that the Washington Post had rushed out new “social media guidelines” leading one editor to delete his Twitter account, and another to joke that under the new guidelines, his Twitter account would only discuss “the weather and dessert recipes.” This isn’t the first time news organizations have generated attention for coming up with restrictive social media guidelines. And, of course, one of the more ridiculous aspects of all of this was that the Washington Post didn’t reveal what those guidelines are, leading to a ton of speculation and leaving it to a competing news organization to publish the actual guidelines. A big part of the problem here was the lack of transparency from the Washington Post in the first place…

While we’re on the subject, the whole thing seems based on this platonic ideal of journalism that involves the objective, unbiased reporter. The guidelines basically tell reporters and editors that they shouldn’t say anything that suggests they actually have an opinion on something, and the editor who deleted his Twitterstream did so because it expressed an opinion on certain news events. But, it’s time we got over this. Just because people pretend to be objective, it doesn’t make them objective. Just because reporters claim to be unbiased, it doesn’t make them unbiased…

…it’s bias and opinion that goes into determining what story makes the front page, or the middle page or gets spiked. It’s about how the “facts” of the story are presented. There’s bias everywhere. Asking reporters to bite their tongue and not actually say what they think doesn’t negate the bias, and it doesn’t help readers/viewers/listeners get any closer to what’s real. It’s just a way of avoiding responsibility, avoiding the community, and avoiding doing a good job. In the meantime, as newer publications (mostly online) do away with the ridiculous idea that a party can be fully impartial, the community of people who consume and share and spread and make and comment on the news are going there. Because that’s where “the news” is best presented. –