Many journalists say that there is no such thing as objectivity — and that there should not be. They say the search for truth is more important than being balanced. Why, they say, would a journalist present a certain point of view if it’s socially repugnant (racist, for example) or simply not true? They are right… to an extent.
While the search for truth is indeed the most important aspect of journalism, it’s dangerous for reporters and correspondents to justify not being fair with the excuse that they are standing for the weak, disaffected or victimized. The bottom line is that often times the truth is elusive or relative. A journalist claiming to stand by the truth may end up simply — and incorrectly — standing with one side of an argument.
I often read so-called advocacy journalists who claim to be spreading the cold hard truth about a certain subject. They feel they understand a story well and, therefore, feel comfortable offering perspective. However, while cloaking themselves in the mantle of truth, they end up ignoring or not paying enough attention to valid arguments. While searching for their version of accuracy, they end up rallying one side of an issue, alienating another and damaging their own credibility.
Many Americans are surfing blogs and websites looking for reporters who present certain points of view. It’s refreshing to see journalists who are adamant about conveying facts, no matter how unpopular. At the same time, it hurts the cause of journalism for news consumers to realize that some journalists are passing on opinion as truth because they were too arrogant or lazy to admit their own limitations.