Monday, February 1, 2010

Hedges: Objectivity; The Disease of American Journalism

Here's an essay by Chris Hedges which leaves me confused, though I'm having a difficult time expressing why and how. He seems to contradict himself, but perhaps it's more about my not understanding what he's saying.

On the one hand he seems to be decrying the lack of reporter's empathy in submitting stories, or more accurately reporter's empathy being written out of their stories by editors who fear offending those who grant access to their reporters and/or provide advertising revenue.

This might be called the Tyranny of Objectivity; a claim that Hitler is an ogre balanced by a claim that Hitler is a prince, to use an example Hedges cites from the past. He seems to be saying that objectivity obscures truth. Truth is that Hitler was an ogre.

In his last paragraph he says that we won't be better off when these "fact based" institutions fail. That's the thought that I can't seem to reconcile with his earlier criticism. Fact based reporting seems to me to be a positive thing, but he seems to be using it in an accusatory, pejorative way.

Please use the comments option at the end of the post if you think you can help me out here.

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