T Nation

Reporter Fired for Being Objective

yep.

This definitely comes under the “can’t make this shit up” category…

http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/freshloaf/2010/02/15/atlanta-progressive-news-fires-reporter-for-trying-to-be-objective/

Exactly what I was thinking.

Well, with Ayn Rand characters populating the White House and Capitol Hill, why not have some at an Atlanta newspaper as well.

Hey, did you guys notice, its the Atlanta PROGRESSIVE News. Progressive means commy(spelling?) pinko bastard. It would be like bithcing because the Nazi bastard association news magazine of dildo morons didnt let some sane person write papers for them cause he wasnt a nazi dildo moron.
On a more serious note, the atlanta prgsve news isnt a big paper in atlanta is it?

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.

  • Thomas Jefferson

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

  • Thomas Jefferson

I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.

  • Thomas Jefferson

“I deplore… the putrid state into which our newspapers have passed and the malignity, the vulgarity, and mendacious spirit of those who write for them… These ordures are rapidly depraving the public taste and lessening its relish for sound food. As vehicles of information and a curb on our funtionaries, they have rendered themselves useless by forfeiting all title to belief… This has, in a great degree, been produced by the violence and malignity of party spirit.” --Thomas Jefferson to Walter Jones, 1814. ME 14:46

“Our newspapers, for the most part, present only the caricatures of disaffected minds. Indeed, the abuses of the freedom of the press here have been carried to a length never before known or borne by any civilized nation.” --Thomas Jefferson to M. Pictet, 1803. ME 10:357

Speaking of objective journalism. Shhhh…don’t tell Keith Olbermann

This is sad, most reporters are total pussies when it comes to holding accountability with people and their statements. At least he had the sack to question rather than randomly accept like most robot reporters.

[quote]Scrotus wrote:
Hey, did you guys notice, its the Atlanta PROGRESSIVE News. Progressive means commy(spelling?) pinko bastard. It would be like bithcing because the Nazi bastard association news magazine of dildo morons didnt let some sane person write papers for them cause he wasnt a nazi dildo moron.
On a more serious note, the atlanta prgsve news isnt a big paper in atlanta is it?[/quote]

It looks like it’s similar to “The Village Voice” in NYC or a paper here in Denver called “Westword”. Not a huge paper and mainly used if your trying to see what bar is running what special or what restraunt to go to. Definately has a heavy far left stance.

What cracks me up is their seeming innocence about how this sounds to the “outside world” - you know, that scary place called reality, which is situated somewhere outside their silly little bubble world. LOL.

I always laugh at the concept of objectivity in journalism. It just doesn’t exist except in, to quote Hunter S. Thompson, the stock market tabulations and boxscores. Aside from that, it’s a myth. Not even photographs are objective.

[quote]sirpsychosexy wrote:
I always laugh at the concept of objectivity in journalism. It just doesn’t exist except in, to quote Hunter S. Thompson, the stock market tabulations and boxscores. Aside from that, it’s a myth. Not even photographs are objective.[/quote]

You can laugh all you want but that’s not going to change logic: when you make the claim that “objective truth does not exist” - do you understand why that is a self-refuting claim?

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:

[quote]sirpsychosexy wrote:
I always laugh at the concept of objectivity in journalism. It just doesn’t exist except in, to quote Hunter S. Thompson, the stock market tabulations and boxscores. Aside from that, it’s a myth. Not even photographs are objective.[/quote]

You can laugh all you want but that’s not going to change logic: when you make the claim that “objective truth does not exist” - do you understand why that is a self-refuting claim?

[/quote]

He is not saying objective truth does not exist, he is saying objectivity does not exist in journalism.

All you have to know about journalism can be summed in the following sentence: Its about making money. Hence the sensationalism, bullshit and focus on trivialities.

[quote]Bunyip wrote:

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:

[quote]sirpsychosexy wrote:
I always laugh at the concept of objectivity in journalism. It just doesn’t exist except in, to quote Hunter S. Thompson, the stock market tabulations and boxscores. Aside from that, it’s a myth. Not even photographs are objective.[/quote]

You can laugh all you want but that’s not going to change logic: when you make the claim that “objective truth does not exist” - do you understand why that is a self-refuting claim?

[/quote]

He is not saying objective truth does not exist, he is saying objectivity does not exist in journalism.

All you have to know about journalism can be summed in the following sentence: Its about making money. Hence the sensationalism, bullshit and focus on trivialities.[/quote]

Yes, there are a lot of bad journalists; but there are also many good ones who honor the objective truth. Genuine excellence in anything is rare.

And yes, I do think that poster is indeed making a more general statement.

Objectivity in journalism does not exist, period. The objective truth? No one even knows what the truth really is so how can it be reported objectively?

Katzenjammer, tell me how you would objectively report (this will be on the front page of the local paper so your editor needs 800-900 words) the truth about the following scenario:

A man emails his family his last will and testament. He is in his fifties and in good health, so the emails alarm his family and they call the police in the city in which he lives asking if they could check on him. Roughly twenty hours later, the police arrive at his door, but hear a gunshot from within. The police immediately set up a perimeter around the building and what appears to be a standoff lasts for six hours, despite the police never actually making contact with anyone inside the man’s home. After six hours, the police enter the home only to find that the man has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest from a .44 Magnum. The coroner is quoted as saying that the man would have stood a “better than average chance” of surviving if he had been able to receive immediate medical attention.

As a journalist dedicated to the “objective truth”, can you really be objective about this? Do you mention the coroner’s quote? Do you mention the twenty hour gap in the police’s response? How do you address the six hour standoff?

As an aside, it seems (judging by the OP) that the paper in question had a major editorial slant to it, in which case any attempt at objectivity was unnecessary and redundant. Op/ed pieces harbor no notions of objectivity in the first place.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Katzenjammer, tell me how you would objectively report (this will be on the front page of the local paper so your editor needs 800-900 words) the truth about the following scenario:

A man emails his family his last will and testament. He is in his fifties and in good health, so the emails alarm his family and they call the police in the city in which he lives asking if they could check on him. Roughly twenty hours later, the police arrive at his door, but hear a gunshot from within. The police immediately set up a perimeter around the building and what appears to be a standoff lasts for six hours, despite the police never actually making contact with anyone inside the man’s home. After six hours, the police enter the home only to find that the man has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest from a .44 Magnum. The coroner is quoted as saying that the man would have stood a “better than average chance” of surviving if he had been able to receive immediate medical attention.

As a journalist dedicated to the “objective truth”, can you really be objective about this? Do you mention the coroner’s quote? Do you mention the twenty hour gap in the police’s response? How do you address the six hour standoff?
[/quote]

I would honor the truth by including all the facts pertinent to the story.

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Katzenjammer, tell me how you would objectively report (this will be on the front page of the local paper so your editor needs 800-900 words) the truth about the following scenario:

A man emails his family his last will and testament. He is in his fifties and in good health, so the emails alarm his family and they call the police in the city in which he lives asking if they could check on him. Roughly twenty hours later, the police arrive at his door, but hear a gunshot from within. The police immediately set up a perimeter around the building and what appears to be a standoff lasts for six hours, despite the police never actually making contact with anyone inside the man’s home. After six hours, the police enter the home only to find that the man has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest from a .44 Magnum. The coroner is quoted as saying that the man would have stood a “better than average chance” of surviving if he had been able to receive immediate medical attention.

As a journalist dedicated to the “objective truth”, can you really be objective about this? Do you mention the coroner’s quote? Do you mention the twenty hour gap in the police’s response? How do you address the six hour standoff?
[/quote]

I would honor the truth by including all the facts pertinent to the story. [/quote]

But you deciding what is and is not pertinent is not true objectivity. Do you understand where I’m coming from? I know, it almost borders on a question of semantics. But the fact that you would choose what is and is not pertinent eliminates any possibility of true objectivity.

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Objectivity in journalism does not exist, period. The objective truth? No one even knows what the truth really is so how can it be reported objectively?
[/quote]

Really? Objective reality is that which exists independent of human social strictures. The sun comes up in the East and sets in the West, for instance. Are you saying that that is open to interpretation? This is in opposition to subjective truth which is wholly dependent on the person, e.g. “I like the color blue”. There is no way I can tell what you mean by that statement since it is all in your head. What if you are a color blind masochist?

Usually (and this is me as a professional Mathematician who has had to wade through a ton of muddle-headed students and their complete lack of logical abilities) when people say there is no such thing as truth they are just switching contexts in ambiguous statements, e.g.

“Rain is bad”

is an ambiguous and incomplete statement. It’s bad if you are in the middle of a flood and just fine if it ends a drought. Arguing by redefining the context is what people spend most of their time on T-Nation doing. Sometimes it is amusing. Usually it is just aggravating.

You are conflating two uses of the word objective here.

  1. The definition I mentioned above

  2. Being cool and emotionally detached from the events.

You are saying that in certain cases everybody’s hot button gets pushed. Sure. Abused children gets us all up in arms. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cowboy up and try to figure out what the Hell is really going on.

[quote]
As an aside, it seems (judging by the OP) that the paper in question had a major editorial slant to it, in which case any attempt at objectivity was unnecessary and redundant. Op/ed pieces harbor no notions of objectivity in the first place. [/quote]

Here is where you swap meanings of context and come back to what the OP was (I think) getting at. A newspaper with integrity should try to get as much of the story right as possible. The correct goal is either to show what happened, or if that is possible, to show no decision can be reached – not to just take some viewpoint and then refuse to relinquish it. That is just small-minded.

Practical note people: When someone talks about relativity and how there is no such thing as truth, what they are often doing is devaluing any objections to their agenda. This is how smart people assert they are infallible. Seriously, if we “agree to disagree” I’m not telling you I think you are right, but telling you there is no way I’m wrong. It sounds oh so polite and progressive but brings us to the crux of the matter: Standards of proof. If there is no way which you can prove me wrong (remember, we’re all right always about everything) then this is often tantamount to sheer bigotry. Some of the most bigoted people I have ever met are the first out the door to talk about how truth doesn’t matter. (And a fair number are here on college campuses and probably taught y’all to think just like them. ahem) So just to make this all clear

  • if you make up your mind before the facts, you are prejudiced.
  • if you stubbornly refuse to change your mind no matter what the facts, you a bigot
  • if you refuse to change the subject, you are a fanatic.

Orwell would agree with me. How many of you know the really scary part of 1984? It is at the end of the book when O’Brian tells Winston that the true power of the state derives from its ability to subjectivize and redefine truth for its own ends. It is the cynical assumptions about subjectivity and how the state operates with it that make that book so terrifying in an essential way.

And as always, I might just be full of shit… <-- which is my signature because I know I can be wrong.

– jj

[quote]jj-dude wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Objectivity in journalism does not exist, period. The objective truth? No one even knows what the truth really is so how can it be reported objectively?
[/quote]

Really? Objective reality is that which exists independent of human social strictures. The sun comes up in the East and sets in the West, for instance. Are you saying that that is open to interpretation? This is in opposition to subjective truth which is wholly dependent on the person, e.g. “I like the color blue”. There is no way I can tell what you mean by that statement since it is all in your head. What if you are a color blind masochist?

-snip-
– jj[/quote]

Good point.

I was under the impression that the Earth rotates around the sun, and from your subjective perspective, positioned on the earth, the sun appears to the rise in the East and set in the West.

Well done.

[quote]Spartiates wrote:

[quote]jj-dude wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Objectivity in journalism does not exist, period. The objective truth? No one even knows what the truth really is so how can it be reported objectively?
[/quote]

Really? Objective reality is that which exists independent of human social strictures. The sun comes up in the East and sets in the West, for instance. Are you saying that that is open to interpretation? This is in opposition to subjective truth which is wholly dependent on the person, e.g. “I like the color blue”. There is no way I can tell what you mean by that statement since it is all in your head. What if you are a color blind masochist?

-snip-
– jj[/quote]

Good point.

I was under the impression that the Earth rotates around the sun, and from your subjective perspective, positioned on the earth, the sun appears to the rise in the East and set in the West.

Well done.[/quote]

The issue is not one of description, but of whether a reality independent of observer exists. The Earth and Sun would continue to orbit just as they do now if every person got in spaceships and flew away. In both descriptions the Earth and Sun are part of our solar system and the (extremely well studied) path of the Sun’s movement as seen from the surface of the Earth is completely consistent with the laws planetary motion.

A good example of a the sorts of shenanigans that can occur is the statement by Bruno Latour (a very well known French intellectual) who publicly stated it simply could not have been the case that one of the Pharaohs died of tuberculosis, since the disease was not described by Robert Koch until 1886. Latour’s specialty is applying deconstructionist arguments to the Sciences to prove it is all just arbitrary gibberish.

– jj

[quote]DBCooper wrote:

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:

[quote]DBCooper wrote:
Katzenjammer, tell me how you would objectively report (this will be on the front page of the local paper so your editor needs 800-900 words) the truth about the following scenario:

A man emails his family his last will and testament. He is in his fifties and in good health, so the emails alarm his family and they call the police in the city in which he lives asking if they could check on him. Roughly twenty hours later, the police arrive at his door, but hear a gunshot from within. The police immediately set up a perimeter around the building and what appears to be a standoff lasts for six hours, despite the police never actually making contact with anyone inside the man’s home. After six hours, the police enter the home only to find that the man has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest from a .44 Magnum. The coroner is quoted as saying that the man would have stood a “better than average chance” of surviving if he had been able to receive immediate medical attention.

As a journalist dedicated to the “objective truth”, can you really be objective about this? Do you mention the coroner’s quote? Do you mention the twenty hour gap in the police’s response? How do you address the six hour standoff?
[/quote]

I would honor the truth by including all the facts pertinent to the story. [/quote]

But you deciding what is and is not pertinent is not true objectivity. Do you understand where I’m coming from? I know, it almost borders on a question of semantics. But the fact that you would choose what is and is not pertinent eliminates any possibility of true objectivity.[/quote]

I see what you’re trying to say, but I can’t say that I agree. For instance, whether the police had 23 or 27 troopers on the perimeter is clearly not relevant to the events in the story. That is, you can objectively say that there is no relevance to the number of troopers whatsoever, and hence no reason to talk about it unless you need to fill space in the column. You cannot say that I am being un-objective by omitting the specific number of police involved in surrounding the house. What matters is only that they surrounded the house.

Objectivity is more about taking sides than anything. A scientist can still believe that one side or another is more persuasive–or has a better case/hypothesis/theory–while at the same time disclosing all facts relevant to the debate whether they support his pet theory or not. Objectivity in journalism has the same prerequisites, while also adding that the actual semantics used–that is, the word choice and tone–is fair to both sides.

Deciding what is pertinent to an issue is very distinct from deciding what is the most persuasive argument for a particular side, OR which side you are on personally.