Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login

Intellectual Prostitution and the Myth of Objectivity

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU
marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:24 AM
Original message
Intellectual Prostitution and the Myth of Objectivity
from truthdig:

Intellectual Prostitution and the Myth of Objectivity

Posted on Apr 3, 2011
By Christopher Ketcham

In this rotten business of freelance magazine writing theres almost no assignment in which the issue of objectivity fails to rise up like the miasma it is. Any writer who puts his mind on the matter knows that no human being is objective, which is the reason writers sit down at the page in the first place. The writer, an inherently subjective force, will not be divorced from the writing, though God knows there are quacks in the news business who are trying. Computers might achieve this end. Also, certain types of house cats are objective: They know exactly what the truth is, and it is them.

So whence the delusional obsession with objectivity in the journalism schools and the pages of the Gray Lady et al.? The pretense and veneer of objectivity is the goal. This renders idiot mistakes and outright falsities so much easier to sell to the public. After all, the marketer of the junk is presented as the all-seeing eye, an authority no less unerring than the babblers at Delphi, no less the product of superstition. Whether we like it or notwhether we recognize it or notthe culture credits objectivity in the journalistic establishment as the product of powers greater than known. The news-clown jabbers on screen, says this or that is so ... and, lo, it is so. More likely its All the News Thats Shit to Print.

Lets not forget that this sleight of hand gets innocent people killed and maimedsee The New York Times objective coverage of the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. If theres a lesson here, its that whenever you hear of governments and organizations fomenting, preparing for or making war, be prejudiced on the side of peace; this is un-American, I know. Whenever you hear a government spokesman speak, your objective assessment should be that hes lyingthis is only logical consistency. Be prejudiced, in fact, against persons associated with organizations large or small, be they members of government, private industry or a block association. Be biased in favor of the lone man against whatever or whoever colludes against men acting alone. For my part, Ill take the word of the skankiest street hustler over the police commissioner, the buzzing of the gnat over the scream of the 10 gorillas.

Perhaps the most poisonous delusion that today blinds the magazine business in particular is the notion of the so-called news peg, which is the Trojan horse for beating out the competitors and selling ads while attempting to inform the public (this last not a necessity, perhaps even an afterthought). Ron Rosenbaum, in his collection of magazine work The Secret Parts of Fortune, sums up the problem. The pegfor those blessedly unfamiliar with this innocent looking but insidious little magazine-jargon wordis shorthand for the topical rationale for assigning or running a piece, writes Rosenbaum. Most often, lately anyway, shorthand for what about-to-be released movie does this story tie into, and can we get the piece before the movies release date because we wont care about it afterward. The peg is, I believe, the bane, the self-destruction of magazine journalism. Why? Because magazine articles, like good books, are supposed to make news, bring out into the open the unheard of, the strange, the new. Rosenbaum continues: Im just against the doctrine (that) defines topical in the most obvious waythe way most attached to the timetables of the publicity-industrial complex. I prefer things that become topical because some obsessed writer cares about it enough to compel attention to it. ...............(more)

The complete piece is at:

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Buzz Clik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 07:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. I want my news objective.
The cynicism in that article is awful.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Sun Aug 20th 2017, 11:49 PM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]

Home » Discuss » Editorials & Other Articles Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators

Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC