ERIC Number: ED232201
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar
Objectivity and the Ideology of News.
Glasser, Theodore L.
A 1977 Court of Appeals decision, "Edwards v. National Audubon Society," outlined the principle of "neutral reportage": the press is not required to suppress newsworthy statements by public officials merely because the truth of those statements is doubtful. The author outlines this court case because it illustrates so well the consequences of the ethic of objectivity that has developed in journalism since the rise of the mass press in the 1800s. Originally a response to economic pressures, objectivity has become an ideal to strive for. In an effort to remain free from unrecognized prejudgments, journalists have concentrated on reporting rather than interpreting news, using themselves largely as vehicles for their sources' arguments, rebuttals, explanations, and criticisms. Nevertheless, their reporting reveals bias. In relying on official sources, reporters favor the prominent and established. Trying to record rather than interpret, journalists undervalue independent thinking as they obscure their own role in choosing and editing news. This ethic of objectivity is founded on a naive belief in a single reality derived from empirical facts. American journalism will not become truly responsible until it recognizes that facts and values are inseparable. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Lecture delivered at an "Ethics in Journalism" Seminar (University of Minnesota, March 3-4, 1983).