ATLANTA - As many of you who read my writing on a regular basis know, I try to keep myself out of whatever story a I'm writing, as much as possible. I'm not always successful at remaining objective, but that's why I used a qualifier (as much as possible). It's the way I was trained to write news stories; thanks Bob.
That being said, there seems to be a stark change in the way news stories were written only 10 years ago as compared to today. Again, if you're familiar with my writing you know this is where I usually cite a source or throw a few numbers around.
I've been contributing to Allvoices for several years now, and am happy to continue doing so into the foreseeable future. I think it's a great place for anyone with something to say, to, well, say it.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand: post-modern spin.
It just seems like, especially with the election coming up, politcal reporting specifically, has become little more than unpaid (well, some are paid actually) campaign promos for any given candidate.
And that's fine, I guess. My only concern is that these opinions are often reported as more than that. And god forbid should you disagree with the author. Well, then you're just a (insert derogatory/insulting political dysphemism)!
But the thing is, this effects not only politics, but all potentially newsworthy stories. Granted, no matter what one decides to report, there will always be spin (even if its just the decision to report some things and not other things); but shouldn't that spin be minimized as much as possible?
I don't believe anybody can be totally objective, but, truthfully, I don't think total objectivity is necessary for good news writing. An ability to see as many sides of an issue as possible (because, contrary to popular discourse, there are often more than just two) is. But even this isn't enough.
Sometimes there just isn't an argument to be made, for any side. Many times in fact. This doesn't stop some from attempting to frame an argument, nonetheless. And I use argument in the most combative, belligerent sense possible. Because ultimately, that's what results.
Nobody learns anything, and no one comes away better informed. In fact quite the opposite happens. Long held beliefs are re-inforced. Biases justified. Logic suspended.
Because contraversy, and not, say, critical thought, sells. Or gets views. Or hits. Or likes.
On the media:
"Today we say "media" instead of "the Press." But it's a mistake. The press has become the ghost of democracy in the media machine, and we need to keep it alive." -- Jay Rosen, Pressthink
"...And objectivity in journalism, regarded as an antidote to bias, came to be looked upon as the most insiduous bias of all. For 'objective' reporting reproduced a vision of social reality which refused to examine the basic structures of power and privilege." -- Michael Schudson, Discovering the News
" It's hard to mix business and culture. Business is going to win." -- Jeremy Thomas, British Film Institute
On politics and language:
"The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice, have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another...Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness." -- Politics and the English Language,
"The words--and actions--of these senators (14 incumbents not seeking re-election following the 104th Congress) are testament that the argument culture has affected our political lives as deeply as it has the press. The pattern I see is the argument culture: The constructive opposition of our system...has deteriorated to become obstructionist." -- The Argument Culture, Ph.D.,
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." -- Benjamin Disraeli
Written and compiled by Benjamin Burton Jr.
If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.