Frame of Reference and Journalistic Integrity

Petersen, Kim
Date Written:  2014-04-06
Publisher:  Dissident Voice
Year Published:  2014
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20306

A criticism of the article, "Journalism and the Illusion of Objectivity" by Michael Holtzman, challenging Holtzman's claims on the nature of objectivity and bias in reporting.



One should define "objectivity" and "bias." Likeliest the very defining of what constitutes objectivity is colored by bias. Nonetheless, permit me to take a stab: objectivity, in its most open and obvious sense, requires the presentation of all information, all context, all interpretations to media consumers. This is, of course, not done for many reasons. One reason is that there is a premium on medium space. Second, many media consumers rely on editorship to present the nitty gritty of the information for easier digesting. Third, for objectivity to flourish, there must be a process (more than just a semblance of one) to determine the factuality of information.


Holtzman recommends divulgence of one's "advocacy journalism." This presumes that all people must be advocating something - at least on a conscious level. Is it not possible that some people report merely the facts as they see and hear them and that this may be free of overt ideological baggage? Nonetheless, there is a refreshing honesty to laying one's cards on the table for all to see and consider how this might impact on the written word.

Consequently, it is very reasonable to provide the framework from which one is reporting. For instance, corporate media should state that there is an ownership in place and that revenue is derived from advertisements and copy sales. Independent media can claim they do not rely on advertisers or government handouts but might depend on reader donations and/or copy sales. In such a scenario, which source of information is likeliest to be free from the sway of money?

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