2. Objectivity is a myth. Most reporters will readily admit that objectivity is an impossibility in reporting. One simply cannot step outside of their own bias completely. This is not to say that we don’t attempt objectivity. But to hold it up as an ideal and brazenly disregard it in the culture of your news organization and reporting is dishonest and deceptive.
Ed Brayton also posted about media bias recently.
My new gig with the Center for Independent Media has been quite interesting, if for no other reason than to stimulate my thinking about the differences between blogging and journalism and how to find a balance between them that maintains integrity. Notice that I say integrity, not objectivity; the concept of objectivity has become so attenuated that it is no longer useful at all in such discussions.
Sometimes that balance can be difficult to strike, but here's one thing I am absolutely certain of: the mere repetition of "both sides" in a dispute is not "objectivity", nor does it have any integrity.
I think that a large part of the problem with the media, which Jeromy touches on in his post, is the audience. If we accept that there is no true 100% objectivity, then we have to learn how to recognize what biases may exist and how to understand how they may influence whatever news story we're listening to. The problem is that I think most people are either incapable of doing so or unwilling to do so.
When I say people are incapable, I don't mean that they are stupid and can't do it. I mean that I don't think most people have the education and skill sets required to process this stuff. I don't think enough critical thinking skills are taught in school, certainly not in this age of teaching for the test (thanks, NCLB!). I would much rather kids came out of school with a bare minimum of facts and a well-honed ability to think critically than the reverse.
As for the second problem, people being unwilling to parse the news properly, well, we are a very lazy country. People would rather think, "Lou Dobbs says he's looking out for the American people, so even though he comes off as a racist prick, I'm going to take him at his word all the time." It's easier than having to read multiple news stories about an issue, do some other research, and come to your own conclusion. And, really, it takes time away from America's Next Top Model. Who wants that?