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MSM’s masquerade of objectivity

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 5:38 pm - November 29, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Media Bias,New Media

As per this post, the problem with the way Katie Couric interviewed the vice presidential candidates last fall was not that she asked tough question of the Republican while tossing softballs to the Democrat, it was that she did so while masquerading as a non-partisan purveyor of news.

If she acknowledged her bias, she might lose some audience share, but would gain in integrity.  She and others in what we’ve called the mainstream media, but which others identify by its more partisan inclinations, still engage in their masquerade of objectivity.  As my friend John Nolte observes:

A non-partisan, unbiased news media simply doesn’t exist anymore. All that remains of this once somewhat respectable profession are two kinds of media: those who lie about their agenda and those who don’t – and Mr. Gerson’s employer* is one of the liars. Whether it’s Glenn Beck, Arianna Huffington, National Review or MSNBC, tell me your biases upfront and we can at least start a dialogue from an honest foundation. On the other hand, the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, Time, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS and the like, have spent years making jerks out of us – lying to our faces. We knew this, there just wasn’t any alternative. But now that there is, their time is just about up.

Of the supposed unbiased news sources listed above, only Newsweek even makes noises about acknowledging its biases.  And to be sure, there are numerous reporters working for some of those outlets (even the Times) who had demonstrated a considerable degree of objectivity in their research and even-handedness in their reporting.

For others, however, the notion of objectivity is a mask to conceal their prejudices.  They just want us to believe that the way they see things is the way things are.


*John penned his post in response to Michael Gerson’s lament for the decline of the MSM in the Washington Post.



  1. Back in the “bad” old days, newspapers had a viewpoint. There were three and four per city even. Each espousing its views based on principles and biases they thought were correct. Then TV came along and the air waves were said to be “owned” by the “people” (and are forests for paper owned by the people? No, so why ions and electrons in the air?) and so we had to have “objectivity” so that none of the “owners” would be “offended.” Then the print media went “objective” and lo, they failed and fell by the hundreds. “Objectivity” always decays to “subjectivity” because human principles and biases, such as you have them, do not go away. Then it was a matter of who would control what was “objective.” Which is why I have always advocated against “objective” thought and said let the media be as subjective, biased, opinionated and for or against something as they want — and the debate would be a lot healthier. Objectivity is like grits, it’s all mush. Subjectivity is a steak, you can chomp down and decide if it is rare, medium, well done, marbled, beefy or whatever enough for you and which sauce to put on it if any. And few people would ask for mush over steak. In fact, only the left asks, nay, demands, mush over steak. And mush for all, instead of steak for whomever and however they want it.

    Comment by Jim Hlavac — November 29, 2009 @ 6:21 pm - November 29, 2009

  2. The false assumption here is that liberals ever intended to present their views honestly, and would do so again if only circumstances were different.

    The reality is that advancing liberalism requires deceit.

    Comment by American Elephant — November 29, 2009 @ 9:41 pm - November 29, 2009

  3. It used to be the only liars on TV were the ones in the TV show “To Tell the Truth” or “The Liars Club”. Now, all the news media are the liars. I get my news from blogs. Can’t trust the media. I do watch Fox News, but even there, Bill O’Reilly caves in to some of the liberal crap. Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck are more truthful than any type of news show out there.
    Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

    Comment by Madalyn — November 30, 2009 @ 11:08 pm - November 30, 2009

  4. Their time will only be up if Mr. Obama and the American taxpayers aren’t conned into ‘bailing them out’ as they requested in a sit down with the current socialist FTC Commissioner. Imagine if Pres. George W. Bush had requested a bailout and/or supervision of newsmedia to strengthen them or increase their marketability, the left would be throwing a tizzy. But when the left proposes fascism its nothing to report on, no problems. I still can’t see how they believe, that with all the controls they’d impose on newspapers (and that darned First Amendment the left is always yappin about), that they would never ever lose any further congressional or presidential elections and then have the newmedia fall into evillllll rethuglican conservative knuckle crawling hands.
    Also the newsmedia already suffers mightily in the public mind because of its unadorned alignment with the leftwing of the DNC. Imagine if it accepted Washington largesse and therefore control, they would have no credibility left in their reportage.

    Comment by eaglewingz08 — December 2, 2009 @ 7:35 pm - December 2, 2009

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