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August 16, 2005

The Press, Torn Between Innocence and Power

A lot of people go into journalism to "make a difference." There's nothing wrong with that; a lot of people want to "make a difference."

But there's a tension between "making a difference" and just reporting the facts without bias, and the press won't own up to that:

Similarly, “making a difference” was never a good enough standard for teaching or doing journalism. It was a lazy idea, the press putting one over on itself. For the liberal journalists and professors who were the believers in make-a-difference journalism were babied by their profession, and their J-school training, which allowed them to believe in agenda-less journalism at the same time.

And in fact, they wanted the innocence (we do just the facts journalism) and the power (we do make a difference journalism) but this could never be. We in the J-schools failed to catch that. The people on a mission never got around to justifying their mission in the language of democratic politics. They talked about it as a neutral public service instead, but speaking truth to power isn’t neutral, and making a difference isn’t just a service to others. We in the J-schools didn’t do well with that, either.

It's a lie and it always has been.

Via Heh.


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posted by Ace at 11:36 AM

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