Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Stop the Presses

At last, Time Magazine's managing Editor Richard Stengel unplugged. In a moment of moral honesty, Stengel said during his speech at the University of Mississippi, "I didn't go to journalism school. But this notion that journalism is objective, or must be objective is something that has always bothered me - because the notion about objectivity is in some ways a fantasy. I don't know that there is such a thing as objectivity."

Did you get that?

He claims the role of a journalist is to answer questions, not ask them. From, Stengel continues to justify the cover of the April 21 issue of the magazine as a "point of view." Needless to say, WWII veterans are not of the same point of view as to the appropriateness of using the image of Marines at Iwo Jima raising the American flag to push the agenda of climate change. He is arrogantly claiming that climate change will take the kind of effort as of the Marines in battle.

So, it makes sense, doesn't it, to have Stengel admit what most readers have come to understand about publications like Time. The are in the agenda pushing business, not the news reporting business. They intend to answer questions for the reader, not pose questions and hear what others have to say.

Typical baby boomer editor - it's all about him and his agenda. Professional and ethical behavior? Not so much.


Paul is a Hermit said...

People like Stengel are entrenched in the media, in education and the courts to name a few. To me, this began en masse with the ending of a draft. I think few like him would choose to give up a few years of their life to serve in any manner which jeopardizes either their life, or their career.
It is always, we support you and when we are not in imminent danger, we will mock you, belittle your achievements and desire to control you.

As for objectivity, people like him now feel strong enough to denounce principles they pretended to follow. Until their lives are put in danger, until they must work for our common good, they feel safe enough to mock us and our way of life too.
Without objectivity, they are nothing more than another group telling me how to live my life. A very powerful group.

Layla said...

O'Reilly said it best,"journalists are corrupt as well as the media."

This post prove that. Great read Karen!

heidianne jackson said...

great post, karen. however your statement of:

"They intend to answer questions for the reader, not pose questions and hear what others have to say."

but they don't intend to answer, but rather to indoctrinate. there is a big difference. saying they intend to answer is giving them implicating they are answering honestly, this is decidedly NOT the case. they are perfectlly happy to say whatever is necessary, including lie, to hammer home what they want you to believe.

as for the journalists being as corrupt as the media, well that's just redundant...

Freadom said...

I think it would be fine for a magazine to create the news, or to answer questions, so long as they don't lie to the American public and say they are not biased. If they want be an opinion journal, they should state that in their mission statement.

Nikki said...

I think most journalists are indoctrinated in College now days. I am going t make a point to teach my son to listen and then weed out the junk...journalists are commentators and thats how it is...I agree with Freadom at leat be honest about it. :)N

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Stengel is right, but doesn't go far enough. The problem is, there is not enough transparency, as far as agenda-driven news and bias.

Jennifer said...

Back when I was majoring in journalism some twenty-five years or so ago, I had a professor who started his course off by saying almost exactly the same thing. In short, that as long as there were human beings involved in the process - either in the telling of, the embodiment of, or the reporting of a story - objectivity would always be comprised. He made the point as warning us about the way we watched and perceived the news as well as to caution us as future reporters of the same. But it's a fair point he made, I think, and it's colored my perspective on all things reportage ever since.

It was also particularly prophetic when looked at in terms of today's "new journalism" - blogging.

Incognito said...

anyone reporter who claims he/she can be objective is probably a liar..

but nice Stengel was able to admit what he did.

Z said...

I think his at least admitting anything like this is a step in the right direction.

You know Bernard Goldberg and his lefty-turned-conservative turn-around AFTER having decided CBS was SO biased they were no longer honest purveyors of the news.. and he'd been there 20 years, I think. That takes some integrity.

American said...

Great post Karen!
Richard Stengal's admission proves what most of us deduced years ago, objectivity in Journalism is fantasy. Needless to add, Time points of view are not shared here. Where is the professionalism - virtuous conduct? Of concern to me are the many, the ignorant masses if you will, who haven't twigged or come to understand yet, taking anything printed by Time as Gospel.

SuZan said...

Newspapers are in the business to sell papers; TV news is in the business to increase ratings.

Objectivity? You can just look at any political race and know exactly where the loyalties lie.