Thursday, February 03, 2005

Objective Journalism

I have no idea if you read Fred Reed's Fred on Everything. Usually very funny but with a point. This week he takes a serious look at bias in news. I've never read a more right-on article. Truely worth the time to read it. Good insight on reporting (well after all he is one) and a reminder that war is hell. No matter how right our political leaders try to play up the wonderful things we do (and I believe we try) awful things happen in wars, often to the innocent. Bring democracy to Iraq - doesn't mean much to a dead Iraqi - even less to the family of a dead US soldier.


Again, suppose that you are trying very hard to be objective, whatever you think that means. How do you do it? Reporting of necessity requires that a reporter make choices. Any choice constitutes a slant.

Do you write pleasant home-towners—boyish young Marine relaxing in the compound and remembering his high-school sweetheart waiting in Roanoke? Do you focus on the alert courage of our young men as they patrol the mean streets, etc? On the sniper who says he likes to shoot a man in the stomach so that his screams will demoralize the enemy, before maybe finishing him off? On the Marine with his eyes and half his face gone because of a roadside bomb? The twenty-seven Iraqis killed by a car bomb downtown? Beheadings? Where do you put your emphasis?

Usually journalists turn against wars. Why? Consult the foregoing paragraph. It is not because they are Commies. It is because they are there. After a few weeks on the ground, you will find yourself acquiring pronounced opinions about things. This is inevitable. No one short of a diagnosable psychopath remains emotionally remote.




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