We must take positions. Our weakness in the West is born of the fact of so-called “objectivity.” Objectivity does not exist – it cannot exist! . . . The word is a hypocrisy which is sustained by the lie that the truth stays in the middle. No, sir: Sometimes truth stays on one side only.
–Oriana Fallaci (Italian journalist and author)
Objectivity is a standard that requires journalists to try to put aside emotions and prejudices, including those implanted by the spinners and manipulators who meet them at every turn, as they gather and present the facts………………………………………………………………….. Rather than cower to those who would
use objectivity as a cudgel against us, we should reclaim it, use it, and reveal how we pursue it. More importantly for the future, we should teach it.
–Stephen J. Berry (Investigative journalist)
The importance of objectivity as a standard for quality journalism has been debated for decades, but never has the discussion been as strident as it is today in the United States. New research from Gallup and the Knight Foundation shows that U.S. news consumers overwhelmingly believe that bias in reporting is a major problem. The research shows that Americans believe the news media is fundamental to our democracy, but they’ve have lost confidence that news organizations are objective in their reporting.
By contrast, a growing number of U.S. journalists are declaring that objectivity as a standard of excellence in reporting is not only unattainable but has actually been the cause of many problems in our country.
The chorus of voices questioning the objective ideal grew much louder in the wake of
George Floyd’s death as many people believe that the U.S. news media has not fairly covered issues of race in our society. Some Black journalists are complaining publicly that the “objective truth” has been decided far too often by white reporters and their primarily white editors.
So, this disconnect between American news consumers who say they want objective
reporting and the journalists who are questioning its value could grow even wider. It’s worth noting that while people who consume journalism overwhelmingly say they want journalists to be objective, those same news consumers are watching a lot of television news on channels that barely pretend to be objective in their reporting.
What say you? We want you to write a thought paper on role of objectivity in U.S. journalism. You should write about what you learned from the assigned articles that are included here and how they shaped your argument and essay. Our hope is that these articles will give you context and some perspective. Your essay should be a sharp expression of your opinion on this issue, but your opinion must be undergirded by facts and sourced appropriately