Time Editor: Objectivity a "Fantasy"

Little by little, the MSM begins to tiptoe up the line of admitting its great, central sustaining myth is shabby lie and always has been.

"I didn't go to journalism school," Stengel said. "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 as such a thing as objectivity."

This is the same guy who claimed that "People trust us [journalists] to make decisions" and that journalists are "experts at what we do." His new remarks continue in that vein:

"[F]rom the time I came back, I have felt that we have to actually say, ‘We have a point of view about something and we feel strongly about it, we just have to be assertive about it and say it positively,'" Stengel said. "I don't think people are looking for us to ask questions, I think they're looking for us to answer questions."

No, they're looking for you to talk to people who actually might have answers and report on what they say. And if there is a split in authority, they're looking for you to report both (or all) answers, not use your scary-honed journalistic expertise to decide among them which is true.

Posted by: Ace at 12:08 PM


1 This explains so much. He's a moron, and not the good kind.

Posted by: NG at April 22, 2008 12:12 PM (ym/Kq)

2 You morons are not worthy of criticizing college educated JOURNALISTS who struggle daily to craft a reality that you can barely understand.
These elite, couragous fighters tell a truth larger than the tedious unfolding of factoids you bitter bible toting white gunmen are capable of grasping.

Posted by: Spartan Fan at April 22, 2008 12:20 PM (7365r)

3 Well, to his credit, doctors have indicated that frequent, mental masturbation can reduce the risk of uncomfortable waves of cognitive dissonance.

Posted by: Robb Allen at April 22, 2008 12:21 PM (MPhK9)

4 I want reporters, not journalists.
Is that too much to ask?

Posted by: harrison at April 22, 2008 12:26 PM (Gv4O0)

5 Try this exercise: Pay close attention to the next media report about something that you have expertise in.

Notice how much they get wrong.

Extrapolate this to EVERY STORY they report. You don't notice it all the time because you're not an expert in most of the things they're reporting on.

Posted by: Warden at April 22, 2008 12:30 PM (rZ5uY)

6 Thisguy has to disbelieve in objectivity, because objectively, he's a dipshit.

Posted by: Hermit Dave at April 22, 2008 12:32 PM (Tk5HT)

7 I want reporters, not journalists.

Is that too much to ask?

Apparently, yes.

Posted by: Sort-of-Mad Max at April 22, 2008 12:32 PM (kKgTD)

8 Is it possible that this guy is looking at how print media is losing ground to blogs, and thinking the way to cash in is for the print media to publish opinion-blog type articles ... one week after the story gets cold?

Posted by: V the K at April 22, 2008 12:40 PM (PLvLS)

9 Time needs to register as a PAC to be honest with everyone.

Posted by: EC at April 22, 2008 12:42 PM (mAhn3)

10 I'm actually OK with this. Actually, its all I really want the so-called MSM to do: admit that they aren't unbiased, objective reporters of facts, and that their opinions, ideology and biases affect their work. Put it right up front, where everyone can see it and account for it as they read a piece.
I would respect them a whole hell of a lot more if they did and I might actually read their stuff more frequently. But I cannot stand the false facade of neutrality and objectivity with which they try to pass off the most clearly biased material.

Posted by: Fred at April 22, 2008 12:45 PM (Ft+03)

11 Even if the journalists admitted their biases, what does that solve:
a) most people are conditioned to believe what the read or hear from an "authoritative" source. I havefriends that will not believe anything on a blog, BUT they will believe anything written in a newspaper or magazine with a name they have heard of before.
b) and where the hell do we get the facts? Who does thelegwork and research and interviews required to get to the facts, or even a good selection of possible alternative facts? The fact that objectivity is elusive and hard to achieve does not make it irrelevant or without value. Even ifI could trust a journalist to give me two balanced sets of facts, I would value that... I don't ask for the perfection they seem to be using to get out of doing anything at all!
Sounds like these people don't want to do the job that they are supposedly paid to do, and want to do something else that they regard as being more fun and exciting and creative. Great, go write books or op-eds. Who is going to do the job of reporter?

Posted by: sherlock at April 22, 2008 12:59 PM (ojW85)

12 There's a big difference between dealing with one's own inescapable bias and getting up in somebody's face and lying your ass off. 'Journalists' do way the hell too much of the latter.

Posted by: S. Weasel at April 22, 2008 01:05 PM (rasT+)

13 They're job is just to tell us what happened. That's really it

Posted by: brak at April 22, 2008 01:27 PM (lhT15)

14 More and more, journalists and reporters seem to think that objectivity is pursuing and accomplishing their own objective.

Posted by: d smith at April 22, 2008 01:29 PM (iHCjy)

15 I don't see any improvement there - someone who lies about objectivity will lie about their ideology.

There just isn't a "culture of honesty" in the so-called "journalistic" profession, and that isn't going to be corrected by a sudden flowering of op-ed stories on the front pages.

The only possible good news would be that some incredibly thick-headed people who haven't noticed it yet will finally have to observe what a leftist anti-intellectual cesspool the profession is.

Posted by: Merovign at April 22, 2008 01:29 PM (IaYDo)

16 If not objective, then in this admissionthat omitsobjectivity, provide at least two perspectives on the subjectbeing discussed or reviewed.
Ex: Both sides of the argument are covered in Ben Stein's movie, EXPELLED: Intelligence

Posted by: maverick muse at April 22, 2008 01:38 PM (1cbR0)

17 "[F]rom the time I came back, I have felt that we have to actually say, ‘We have a point of view about something and we feel strongly about it, we just have to be assertive about it and say it positively,'" Stengel said.

Uh, it's called an Editorial or Op-Ed - not "news" - and has been an established practice under various names since one caveman wanted to garner support from othersagainst an opponent/viewpoint.

It is OK to have, and even promulgate, an opinion. It is <I><b>NOT</b></i> [generally - posssible exception class example, the Law of Gravity]OK to force-feed your point as "truth".

And while understandable to not know of certain factors in what you "know" once you do become aware but do not acknowledge you are indulging in propoganda - not that all propaganda is bad, butlet it be known as such.

Posted by: teqjack at April 22, 2008 03:31 PM (CEphM)

18 TIME 99% lies 1% truth you cant beleive anything you read in that leftists rag

Posted by: Spurwing Plover at April 22, 2008 03:54 PM (PAJqa)

19 The new media's a beautiful thing to read - documented, cross-checked, and the opinion comes from the masses - not some priss self-important journo whose only goal is to get one of the gold-plated turds - a Pulitzer. The entire content of the worthless Chicago rag Sun-Times is nothing but opinion - including the paid bloat provided by the Associated (with terrorists) Press and admittedly liberal editorial chimps.

The comics are OK though - as long as you ignore the simplistic stupidity of the Cockroach.

Posted by: apb at April 22, 2008 04:33 PM (auJy1)

20 that journalists are "experts at what we do."

They type good? Hell, I can do that.

Posted by: cranky at April 22, 2008 04:46 PM (PRbjZ)

21 The MSM willnever admit their uber-lefty biases untilthat truth has been acknowledged by a majority of news consumers. There will have to be some tipping point where most viewers/readers will just say,"Oh yeah, CNN isa bunch ofaging hippiesin Armani, NBC is carrying water for theDemocrat Party, The New York Times may as well be the mediaarm of Code Pink."That's going to take some time; most left-wingers I talk to have guzzled down the Chomsky/Manufacturing Consenttheory and think the MSM is actually too conservative.
The patina of objectivityis also what gets them an audience and revenues. The MSMwon't want to lose that 'fair' reporting reputation until it's absolutely necessary.

Posted by: KingShamus at April 22, 2008 05:29 PM (rSqDf)

22 Courage

Posted by: Admiral Obama at April 22, 2008 05:44 PM (evdj2)

23 "I think they're looking for us to answer questions."

So suddenly, journalists are experts at everything?

I think Mr Stengel has an overly developed ego.

Posted by: GarandFan at April 22, 2008 07:04 PM (N4c1G)

24 Say what you like about Hunter Thompson, at least he never paraded any false claims to "objectivity". He was biased, and made a point of openly admitting that bias from the start.

Posted by: Jake Was Here at April 22, 2008 07:28 PM (axb1h)

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