A Q&A On "Objective" Journalism

05/29/20164 Comments

Of the many under-appreciated gems in The Corbett Report archive, my podcast episode on "The Myth of Journalistic Objectivity" may be one of the most important. Not only does it expose a few of the many examples of bias in the mainstream media (from Bilderberger Charlie Rose to World Federalist Walter Cronkite to CIA Anderson Cooper), it also lays out in detail why the idea that journalism can ever be "objective" at all is not just a pipe dream, but a dangerous delusion.

Following on from that expose, I was recently contacted by John Wielenga about a research project on 'Mainstream Media Bias and Propaganda' that he is conducting for a class in which he is enrolled. The Q&A that he conducted with me for that class is instructive about the ways that the media can shape and distort our view of reality, about why subjectivity in journalism is unavoidable, about why it should be embraced, and about how the onus is on each of us to temper our own biases by avoiding the online echo chamber. To that end, I present that Q&A here in its entirety.

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Comments (4)

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  1. T.T. says:

    Shows how important the interaction between the viewers(subscribers?)and Newsbud will be.
    Sadly i have to say that contacting Newsbud was a dissapointment for me. Hopefully this will be solved when it’s up and running.
    And ofcourse the end of the creditcard monopoly!

    Insightful as ever, thanks James.

  2. mtflaxman says:

    I see another major factor influencing MSM news coverage: the viewers, and what they want to hear. TV stations are commercial operations. If reporting a current truth means risking lower ratings, hence less earnings for the station and advertisers, it won’t get reported. Viewers want to hear that everything is beautiful. They seek the distraction of the trivial. Offer them harsh reality and they’ll switch to another channel. We must take some of the blame.

  3. candideschmyles says:

    Interesting positions to take James. About the only bit of it you earn integrity is on calling yourself an editor. It is not that your response on objectivity is untrue so much as it actually says nothing and sets up the notion that objectivity is impossible. In fact absolute objectivity is a straw man. And you set it up to kick it down. No journalist in his or her right mind would try to claim absolute objectivity. Every great journalist should have an objective reality as his or her ultimate guidance and it does exist. It is not wholly mythic. The objective reality of people and events can, is and should be available to those that seek it by those that seek it. And that is what objective journalism is.
    Yet I have seen you maintain a sustained stance against certain individuals and sources who clearly and determinedly produce unredacted objective information that is not subject to your craft, editing. Wikileaks being the most prominent of them. Even though you could be summarised here in the single Julian Assange quote “everything is propaganda”.
    Additionally a simple search of the people denied freedom of speech by TED would I have thought made you reluctant, even ashamed, to refer to it at all let alone promote it as some sort of qualifying credential.
    It seems to me more like you are destroying the noble aim of being objective here yourself and are putting this out as a veiled subliminal disclaimer and, of course, stating that you cannot expect objective reality here. That is so sad. And I wonder again that your success as a self proclaimed expert on subjects you knew nothing of a decade ago, heavily seasoned by your juvenile romanticism toward masonic agoraism striped anarchism, really means you are coming of age and seeing that feeding your family is your only real mission in life.

  4. alice88 says:

    Excellent insight from candideschmyles. We all have our limitations, external and internal. Each of us have our individual mission in life. That’s why we’re here. It’s obvious that raising a family is important to Corbett: that’s why he updates us on its development. I don’t have children and am relieved not to have the responsibility. This allows me to pursue questions that schooling completely failed to clarify for me. Corbett has said of having perhaps lived in Japan in a previous life. Well, some of us have lived somewhere in Europe in past lives and came back to figure out why the French revolution, why the Russian revolution, why WWI, WWII and so on. Why do some of us take naturally to learning Russian, French and gave up with no qualms on learning Japanese. Someone once said that learning is remembering. Hegel was right on about phenomenology. I heard an excellent podcast with Matt Johnson on the topic yesterday.
    Maybe Corbett can do a podcast with Matt. He’s quite knowledgeable about Russia.

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