Should Or Can The Media Be Impartial?


What might be an alternative to objectivity, a better way to understand the role and responsibilities of a free and independent press? Theodore Glasser

There seems to be a requirement that the media (television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet) should be objective, impartial, neutral, fair. Some even claim that it is. Why should reporters be objective when no one else is? This blog is the result of my reading an article by Theodore Glasser, The Ethics of Election Coverage. In Stanford Magazine.com – Medium, Aug. 31, 2016

We don’t expect Supreme Court Justices to be objective and impartial. Liberal judges and conservative judges are not objective by definition. How about salesmen, police officers, CEOs, your neighbor or some family members? And how about a politician running for congress or for the presidency?

Today with the rise of rapid computerization of communication and social media, we may need a new view of the media ethics of objectivity. What should be the role and responsibilities of a free and independent press?  Do we need to reject the ideal of a detached and impartial reporter? If we have too much objectivity, does it render the media incapable of identifying falsehoods? If we have too little of it, what does that do to the norms of professionalism?

In closing, Glasser asks the following question: What might be an alternative to objectivity for understanding the roles and responsibilities of a free and independent press? Some suggestions by him and others:

We might acknowledge journalists as writers whose stories interpret the world they live in and care about rather than as reporters whose reports describe a world to which they have no apparent commitment. Glasser

 There are no finally “correct” or “accurate” accounts of the world; all descriptions are interpretations in the sense that everything can be redescribed.  Richard Rorty

Depict news not as a fixed thing, a collection of precise dates, facts and events that add up to a quantifiable, certain, confidently know truth but as a mysterious and malleable thing, constantly changing, not just as new information emerges, but as our own interests, emotions and inclinations change.  Ken Burns

 It is no longer enough to report the fact truthfully. It is now necessary  to report the truth about the fact.  1947 Report on a Free and Responsible Press




This entry was posted in Democracy in Danger. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Eugene Unger says:

    H, the truth as I see it is, thus was a much appreciated Blog. What is truth? The world as I saw it and as I interpret it. Unfortunate as truth key be😏 thanks buddy. See you soon. Gene

    Sent from my iPad


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s