Objectivity

Judge Faulder invited your trusty correspondent into his chambers last week for a little discussion on Objectivity In The Press, opening with the White Queen’s Gambit:

“Your writing is delightful, Bruce, just delightful. I’d much rather read your stuff than the objective reporting in other newspapers like the Press Democrat or the Daily Journal.”

Sorry, judge, but that comment sucks. What you call “objectivity” in the local mainstream papers – or even all the way up to the New York Times and Washington Post – is not “objectivity”; it is the subjectivity of the publishers – that is, the owners – of those papers – which, by the by, happen to be big corporate interests and, as you know very well”—

“Oh! I see I’ve hit a nerve – sorry.”

“Just let me finish, if you please. To come out with an example of this presumed objectivity of the mainstream – and, incidentally, I’ve worked for dailies owned by newspaper chains like the Press Democrat and the Daily Journal as reporter, copy editor, and columnist, so I think I speak from a not complete ignorance on the subject – that this presumed objectivity, which these publishers have anointed themselves with, is false, manifestly false, for there is no such thing as objectivity – look the word up! – because it would be impossible for any mortal to attain an even modest presumption of objectivity; but more importantly that what masquerades as objectivity is the most rigid form of subjectivity ever devised and perpetrated on a gullible reading public.”

“Oh, dear, I see I’ve really hit a nerve.”

“I’m not finished, judge. I’m just getting started. To say that our local mainstream newspapers are being objective because they do not allow their reporters to comment or even so much as make note of glaring dishonesties, gross deceptions and other forms of misconduct in official reports is ludicrous. Take for instance this recent business of the county supervisors first giving themselves pay raises, and then later giving themselves awards. To repeat the purple prose in these press releases without a murmur of incredulity or dissent – in the name of objectivity – is nothing less that blatant toadyism, proof of a rigid subjectivity that allows no attempt at objectivity whatsoever! What it amounts to is essentially this: That the subjectivity of someone – a reporter for example – that you can identify as being fairly honest, if not perfectly so – for who could pretend to such a state? – and relate to – or should I say trust to some degree? – for who among us can be trusted completely? --- I say, if you know and expect the familiar subjectivity of the news source in question – some radical newspaper, maybe, or an internet blogger -- then you are far better off than being manipulated by this false objectivity, thrown out by the mainstream echo-chamber – and don’t forget, you brought it up, judge.”

“My, look at the time. I see I’ve got your dander up on this and would like to hear you out, and I’m sure you’ve got plenty more to say on the subject, but I’m afraid I have people waiting, and I really do, I’ve got to run. I don’t mean to rush you, and yes, I agree mostly with what you’re saying, but I really do have to go.”

“Okay, that’s fine – maybe I’ll just write it up and you can look it over when you’ve got more time, at your leisure, if you ever have any. I know you are a busy man and I don’t mean to interfere with your pressing schedule.”

“Good! That’ll be fine. Do that. Bye now.”

“Now, you won’t say I made any of this up, will you?”

“No – never! Why would I do that? Oh, yes, that reminds me: this is all off the record, of course…?”

“Of course it is. Why would you think otherwise?”

3 Responses to "Objectivity"

  1. Flynn Washburne   April 4, 2019 at 6:37 am

    L-O-L!

    Reply
  2. Irv Sutley   April 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm

    Is nothing sacred

    Reply
  3. Mike   April 7, 2019 at 9:30 am

    This “objectivity” is an enteric coating dynamic that allows us all to not see, or not act on, very old and frail people living on the streets.

    Reply

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