Liberal Newspaper Chooses Honesty over Fake Objectivity
Sometimes it gets frustrating when the liberal media refuses to admit that it is just that--liberal. But every now and then, some light shines in on its true ways.
It should hardly be a surprise that a newspaper called the Atlanta Progressive News would be the one to lift the veil of objectivity. But it is nice to see at least one liberal media outlet admit that--in the words of David Axelrod--it has a perspective.
The Progressive News recently fired one of its veteran reporters. The reason given: he was simply too objective, and refused to give the news a liberal bent. Now, the newspaper is openly liberal, so the move wasn't a sacrilege against traditional standards of journalism.
But it was a refreshing departure from the traditional media's self-deception when it comes to reporting the facts. The Progressive News obviously has no illusions about its "perspective," and is not hesitant to share it:
At a very fundamental, core level, Springston did not share our vision for a news publication with a progressive perspective. He held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News. It just wasn’t the right fit...
We believe there is no such thing as objective news. Typically, mainstream media presents itself as objective but is actually skewed towards promoting the corporate agenda of the ultra-wealthy.
APN, on the other hand, does not pretend to be objective. We believe that our news coverage is fair and that our progressive principles are fair. We aim when possible to give voice to all sides, but aim to provide something different than what is already provided by corporate sources.
One need not agree with the Progressive News's perspective to at least acknowledge the honesty in admitting that the paper is not "objective" in the Old Media I-have-no-opinions sense of the term.
True objectivity in the newsroom is a pipe dream. With a few very rare expections, reporters naturally incorporate their own personal biases into their reporting. Newsrooms should take this fact into account and pursue one of two paths accordingly: either admit to and embrace the outlet's biases as the Progressive News has done, or make a concerted effort to hire an ideologically diverse staff.
Andrew Breitbart wrote last month,
The consumer of news and information now has a clear and distinct choice between two approaches in delivering this valuable commodity:
On one side you have the New York-based intelligentsia, driving the narratives of our times with the guidance of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Anyone who knows this crowd knows them to be neither “objective” or “bias-neutral,” yet that line is propagated on television news and in print media and we are supposed to accept it. They have built walls between themselves and their customers, disdainfully and grudgingly accepting their criticisms only when forced to acknowledge their egregious errors (are you still out there, Mr. Rather?).
On the other side you have writers, researchers and pundits from every corner of our land, proudly disclosing their true core principles for all to see. They present the stories that move them and respond in real time to the interactive feedback of their consumers. They lose credibility (and audience) not for their opinions, but for journalistic errors and, more importantly, how they handle those errors. The fact is this: they are actually held to a higher journalistic standard because of the frank and honest disclosure of their point of view. When they mess up, they make their own side look bad. This ends up being a much tougher code of ethics than something dreamed up by a J-School panel of advisors.
Politics aside, the Progressive News has come down on the latter side, and they should be applauded for that. As long as the paper is accurate and fair in its reporting, there is little harm to be done from openly biased reporting as long as its readers know that it is openly biased.
That is the problem with the vast majority of the liberal media--the portion that has yet to come out and admit its glaring biases: it still insists that the news it reports is objective, and too many Americans believe it.