Is Objectivity Important?
by Amanda Almonord
It is thought that honest journalism is objective journalism. Objective journalists do not appear to be partial to one side or the other. They write or broadcast news that doesn’t favor one political party over another. Or so it would appear.
While writing objectivity is the goal for journalists, I don’t believe that journalists or the media can truly be objective because everyone has biases and I believe that biases are hard to set aside. Even if a journalist writes an objective article, the editors of the paper or media outlet can (and will) make changes to the article to fit the voice or views of the paper. Or worse, to appear impartial, the journalist may write an article that is so far off their own beliefs that the article becomes skewed in that direction. McChesney said that:
“Many journalists are proud to note that though they are liberal, their coverage tends to be conservative so that they won’t be accuses of unprofessionalism…The main bias of journalists is the bias not to do anything that could be construed as liberal.”
This is not objective writing. This is the not the standard that media outlets and journalists should be following. This type of writing does not help the community or society because the writing becomes swayed in the opposite belief of the writer.
The problem is that in this modern era, objectivity is a novelty. The truth is, how can we be objective? Everyone has an opinion, a thought, a bias that can easily be shared. With the advent of “citizen journalists”, this becomes increasingly true.
Does objectivity really mean “good journalism”? My answer, not necessarily. The theory of objectivity is great because it requires journalists to state facts so that no one side is prioritized over another. But as I’ve stated before, sides are always being prioritized, especially within media. And while objectivity is the main goal, the standard, if you will, of journalism, perhaps journalism can do more than just state fact. Being partial to a side could lead to the creation of a solution for social justice and political problems.
Ultimately, I believe that there is a place for objectivity. However, I don’t believe that all journalistic pieces need to be objective to be “good”. There should be a balance because journalistic pieces that are partial to a side and is not supported by fact is not good journalism, it’s just an opinion piece.