Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Guardians of the "Should"

Newspaper reporters and editors can be often heard to proudly tout their “objectivity.” (What they really mean is “neutrality,” but that’s a story for another day.) They claim to always offer both sides to a story, allowing both parties to state their case.
This is obviously untrue to any objective observer. Moreover, neutrality is immoral because it means nonjudgmentalism, allowing equal time to the wrong instead of condemning it. Newspapers should be the guardians of the “should.” They should be the frontline soldiers for individual rights and explicitly base all of their journalistic principles upon this one principle.
Here are some examples of neutrality gone woefully wrong.
“Public education.” Newspapers regularly print articles on how to improve this atrocity when, in fact, they should be denouncing the very idea.
Global Warming: Newspapers have actually agreed (without saying so outside of their opinion pages) that the Earth’s warming in recent years is predominantly man-made, and so their seemingly endless fabrications (excuse me, I mean “stories”) simply concern how to prevent global warming – from world summits to socialist marches to “everything green” to school classes on environmentalism, all of which are written in glowing terms about the fools who also have gobbled up this latest Chicken Little tale. There are great articles out there that denounce global warming, but few newspapers ever print these.
“Welfare.” This issue, of course, is a non-issue with newspapers, who have it as a cause-celeb for decades. It is never a matter of “why”; it is always a matter of “who” and “how much.”
National defense. Newspapers have never tried, to my knowledge, to even define what national defense is and, therefore, what it should entail. They are too preoccupied with “world opinion,” which belies their own skepticism about whether America (much less a single human being) can take moral stands unilaterally or even understand what is rational and right by itself. Stories on this subject, like all of the subjects above, tend to lean to the left by using stronger quotes from the left, as well as placing them more strategically in stories and using pejorative verbs for speakers of the right, like “claimed” and “stated” and “proclaimed” and “announced” and “contended” instead of the neutral “said.” And, as in all the subjects above, newspapers flatly refuse to do their own research on subjects or to report when facts favor the side they are opposed to (unannounced of course). It took virtually all American newspapers (except for the Wall Street Journal and a few others) more than four months to print even a token story on the success of the surge in Iraq.
There are dozens of other “shining” examples of bias and so-called neutrality (FDA, CDC, farm programs, regulation, taxation, eminent domain, “public utilities,” drugs, alcohol, tobacco, etc), but the modus operandi remains the same: alleged neutrality.
It is ironic that newspapers scoff at the old Horace Greely days of “should” journalism, when newspapers 200 years ago explicitly stated what was right and wrong in front-page articles. The newspapers were often wrong, but their hearts and minds were in the right place: “What is good for individuals? What is good for Americans?”
If you add Objectivism (objectivity) to the intent of early-American journalism, then you have created the grand protector of individual rights in a medium that rightly endeavors for the “should.”

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