Everyone who works in mainstream media (ok, almost everyone) believes that they are involved in a profession so pure that it believes it can sit in judgment on all that it surveys. What is it that gives these people the bone fides to think they can authoritatively intone upon our society’s many and varied workings? Objectivity. Like some Buddha upon a mountain who inhabits the rarified air that brings clarity not available to mere mortals, modern journalists are convinced they hold the keys to definitive truth on the issues and events of the day.
Of course everyone else looks upon them as the emperor who has no clothes. Only Fox News and talk radio are biased and thus cannot claim to be part of real journalism. But Andrew Breitbart isn’t buying it. In his welcome post to Tucker Carlson’s new website The Daily Caller, Breitbart in his inimitable way rips into the pretense of modern journalism’s high horse, objectivity. Here is a taste:
Over the last fifteen years, the Internet has become the battlefield, where the mostly false notion of “objective” and “bias-neutral” journalism clashes with those of us on the right who believe that media bias is the central issue facing our nation, and even the world.
The fact that the mainstream media’s existence is built on this false premise of objectivity serves as a suicide pact, as their ever-dwindling audience – one viewer, one reader at a time – perceives the obviously subjective “news” they are being served. Our competition in the so-called mainstream media claims that our admitted biases render it impossible for us to report stories truthfully. I couldn’t disagree more.
Those in the media who proclaim neutrality while reporting slanted, one-sided information represent the core reason why subscribership is down in most newspapers (The Wall Street Journal notwithstanding) and why ratings are down for news networks (Fox News notwithstanding.)
While I am not clever enough to understand whether true objective neutrality in journalism can be reached, I know that there are some in the profession who strive for that ideal, but those newsroom anomalies are becoming an ever-rarer breed, as new media makes its mark on old media. Except for a few network and newspaper closet cases, who we all know suffer grave consequences for voicing their dissent, the original content news drivers, those that craft the daily narratives from their sheltered offices on 6th Avenue and near Times Square remain protected by this grand inside joke of objectivity. “Our reporting doesn’t show any ideological slant” they will say, with a knowing wink to each other. But remember, they also say they are thrilled with Anderson Cooper’s ratings in the same breath. You decide.