ERIC Number: ED242636
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Nov-18
Reference Count: 0
Liberal Democracy and Objective Journalism: Partners or Adversaries?
Reeb, Richard H., Jr.
Contemporary journalism, although claiming to be politically objective and neutral, has become a powerful critic of the conduct of the government, often seeming to be a force for the reordering of national priorities along leftist lines. This "adversary journalism" of the past 15 years has strayed a long way from the neutral journalism exemplified by two major figures in the field, Walter Lippmann and James Reston. Lippmann, while an individual with strong political opinions, believed that journalists should look at the world as detached observers, presenting events as they really are. Reston saw objectivity as an obligation of an institution given unlimited freedom by the First Amendment. Yet this commitment to objectivity is beyond contemporary journalists. Instead of transcending political loyalties, they have merely exchanged one for another. The alternative to this lies in a re-examination of the attitudes of the Founding Fathers. Jefferson, Madison, and Hamilton, while taking different approaches to the press, had significant similarities. All agreed on the principles of republican government and freedom of the press. They saw that major tasks of journalism were to enlighten the public by inculcating in them the sentiments appropriate to a regime of liberty and to communicate political information so that suffrage could be used wisely. They also agreed that the press must be governed in accordance with republican principles: it must not disseminate political misinformation and heresy. Journalism should be free and objective, but friendly to the political regime that allows its existence. (LP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Journalistic Objectivity; Lippmann (Walter); Press Criticism; Press Responsibility; Reston (James)