How Accuracy is Greater Than Objectivity

by Isabel Braverman

You may be fair and balanced but the greater question is–are you accurate?

So many journalists put emphasis on being objective–aka I have no political view on this subject so you should trust me. Even in journalism classes we are taught to always be objective, it is after all in the SPJ code of ethics.

The thing about objectivity is that it’s in itself objective. It could mean different things to different people. Just like if you sent six journalists out to write a story, even if they are being “objective” they would come back with six completely different stories. Just like Ariana Huffington said in this article, even if someone was at the scene of the crime, so to speak, they could still get the facts wrong. Embedded journalists on the front lines could still get names wrong, death tolls wrong, or more egregiously, paint a scene in favor of one side even when it was the exact opposite. Journalists are guilty off this all the time–make the American soldiers the heroes, even if they killed the wrong people. But I digress.

The point of objectivity is… what exactly? When did this obsession with it come into being? Yes, we shouldn’t be directly told what to think about a situation, but the truth is no matter how much journalists say they are objective they are still going to have an opinion on something. For Obama or against him, universal health care or not, pro-life or pro-choice. We are all pro-opinion. So to pretend not to have one is already lying/being un-objective. The problem with journalists in the mainstream media is they are trying too hard to cover up their beliefs, political or otherwise (with the exception of maybe Rachel Maddow and all of Fox news).

It is my belief that I would prefer to hear the facts, whether or not the journalist’s opinion is attached or not. Jon Stewart is an excellent example of this. Yes you might peg him as a liberal, but could you really? What he does is present the facts and call out the media when they’re lying. I find this far more important than if he tried to be objective. Then Jon Stewart wouldn’t be Jon Stewart. I mean, he wasn’t voted America’s Most Trusted Man and his show didn’t win an Emmy for nothing. But again, I digress.

Objectivity is really becoming obsolete in a media that is becoming more and more biased. This, of course, stems down to the media that each person seeks out– is it MSNBC, Fox, Drudge Report or Huffington Post? Each one is associated with a certain political side, yet each one can be accurate while not being objective.

It’s impossible to be objective but it’s possible to be accurate.