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Reporter Fired for Being Objective

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Brian Gates
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http://blogs.creativeloafing.com/freshloaf...o-be-objective/

Atlanta Progressive News fires reporter for trying to be objective

February 15, 2010 at 5:16 pm by Andisheh Nouraee in News

Atlanta Progressive News has parted ways with long-serving senior staff writer Jonathan Springston. Apparently, Springston’s affinity for fact-based reporting clashed with Cardinale’s vision.

And, no, that’s not sarcasm.

In an e-mail statement, editor Matthew Cardinale says Springston was asked to leave APN last week “because 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.”

Cardinale says he has no plans to fill the position left vacant by Springston’s exit. His full statement to CL appears after the jump.

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The newspaper put out this idiotic piece in response to comments:

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/news/0600.html

Highlights:

The premise of objectivity is literally to remove the observer from what it is that is being observed and simply to report what "is." However, that is an impossibility. It cannot be done. In fact, there is nothing that "is," separate from the observer or multiple observers who construct and interpret what that reality is.

One could argue that the only one who's really objective is God, and that's because God is omniscient or all-knowing (that is, if you believe in God).

Edited by brian0918
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We may not fit people's preconceived notions of what news agencies are or should be, but what we are is what we are.

This, after claiming that there is no such thing as an "objective reality." Apparently the writer is fine with the Law of Identity. How do such idiots find their way into publication?!

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This, after claiming that there is no such thing as an "objective reality." Apparently the writer is fine with the Law of Identity. How do such idiots find their way into publication?!

At least they are direct and crystal clear.

"there is no such thing as objective reality"

The editor looks like a character from an Ayn Rand unpublished novel.

They're saying: we have a side, and we will choose what facts to report

in order to advance our agenda.

Better this confession than to claim they're objective and reason based.

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The newspaper put out this idiotic piece in response to comments:

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/news/0600.html

Highlights:

I think this is a great opportunity to look at the epistemology underlying the bad reporting of the msm.

From your link:

NO SUCH THING AS OBJECTIVITY IN NEWS

"You can't be neutral on a moving train." - Howard Zinn

So, the first point is, as already stated on our FAQs page, there's no such thing as objectivity in news.

There can definitely be objectivity in news, i.e. you can relate what happens in the real world objectively. You can do it in rocket science -- how else do we get rockets to mars? -- and you can do it in any other field I'm aware of.

The premise of objectivity is literally to remove the observer from what it is that is being observed and simply to report what "is."

The claim is made that in order to know the world "as it is" you have to some how remove the observer from the world, but what we perceive in the world is the world "as it is". Your faculty of perception is part of the world too, after all.

But there is an *order* to knowing the world, a logical order of learning things. ALL of our experiences, from the moment we're born, come from our perceptions. We build up our understanding of the world from perceptions. We come to know that we are observers from our perceptions. We come to realize that there are other people who observe, from our perceptions. We learn that we have senses that take in data, from our perceptions. All of that we build on to understand the world around us.

You can't start in the middle with a statement like "I am an observer who sees things from my perspective therefore I can't be objective", because it is self-contradictory. On what are you basing this allegedly objective statement? The premise is supposed to be "objective", after all, because it is being claimed as sound knowledge.

Anyway, we can know the world objectively, the evidence for which is available to us every waking moment doing routine things. I make breakfast. I drive a car. I feed my cat. I work out. I program. etc. etc. I do all of these things successfully, all the time. I perceive the real world, and interact with it successfully.

Continuing with his quote:

However, that is an impossibility. It cannot be done. In fact, there is nothing that "is," separate from the observer or multiple observers who construct and interpret what that reality is.

I see evidence 24/7 that everyone around me is seeing the same world and responding to it in the same way, at least on the level of the directly perceivable. I think we all agree there is an Earth. I think we all agree there are oceans on the earth. Often news reporting is over issues that are that direct! As to more abstract issues, they are a matter of *reasoning*, and reasoning is a matter of getting your conceptual house in logical line with the facts you perceive. So, your problem, mister news guy, is that your conceptual house is a mess.

Game-set-and-match.

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"The premise of objectivity is literally to remove the observer from what it is that is being observed and simply to report what "is." However, that is an impossibility. It cannot be done. In fact, there is nothing that "is," separate from the observer or multiple observers who construct and interpret what that reality is.

One could argue that the only one who's really objective is God, and that's because God is omniscient or all-knowing (that is, if you believe in God)."

:o <Jaw drop>. I can't believe he is saying such things in public. I guess things are not good enough yet for this sort of statement to be embarrassing.

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"The premise of objectivity is literally to remove the observer from what it is that is being observed and simply to report what "is." However, that is an impossibility. It cannot be done. In fact, there is nothing that "is," separate from the observer or multiple observers who construct and interpret what that reality is.

One could argue that the only one who's really objective is God, and that's because God is omniscient or all-knowing (that is, if you believe in God)."

:o <Jaw drop>. I can't believe he is saying such things in public. I guess things are not good enough yet for this sort of statement to be embarrassing.

Well, he is saying it, and it is taught in universities. It's nothing new. It's important to take it seriously and show it to be wrong!

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The newspaper put out this idiotic piece in response to comments:

http://atlantaprogressivenews.com/news/0600.html

Highlights:

This is an interesting question. No matter how unemotionally and how carefully someone observes events and describes them, he does so from his particular place in his particular time with the history and values he brings to the task. So even the most objective report is not the report from Nowhere (in particular). When we say that so and so is objective, I think we mean he has removed as much of his bias as can be removed from the task of reporting. Even so, a person who holds that the world is what it is, where it is and when it is has brought a philosophical viewpoint to the task of reporting and describing. So there is an element of self remaining in the report. After all, a report is a report by someone. We simply have to accept the fact that we are not disembodied spirits inhabiting a non-material ghost world. Our views, no matter how carefully arrived at and our reports no matter how carefully crafted are not the God's Eye view of the world.

Bob Kolker

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I do agree with one thing that was said: "too many corporate media reporters present one side and then another as if both are equally valid; sometimes, they're not." This is completely true, though I may leave out the Che-loving "corporate" adjective to reporter. The entire point though is to present your case as it adheres to objective reality, not to your own subjective whims. (or to a nonexistent medium of thought) This report is interesting in showing how some people choose to look at reporting, supposedly a more objective field. And to think I used to think of the news as "pure" as a youth, I think of it as another Santa now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Peter Schwartz wrote an excellent article on this very subject back in the days of The Intellectual Activist. He later gave a lecture on the subject entitled Requirements of Objective Journalism. The lecture is available on CD at the Ayn Rand Bookstore at the following link:

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=HS58M

Hurricane Katrina took away my entire 25-year library of Objectivist works (along with the rest of my home), but I do remember that the Schwartz article (and later the lecture) covered just about all one would want to know about objective journalism.

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That reminds me...

I've always wondered how you define "Objective journalism". Conservatives always say that there's a liberal media bias (they refer to Hollywood, understandable. They also refer to MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS. The last few I never get). But liberals point out that Fox News is biased (I can't see anything that would state otherwise).

I'll check that article later.. but I don't watch the news giants to get an understanding of who this "liberal media" is. This liberal media is doing a better job of hiding it than Fox News is

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  • 3 weeks later...
I've always wondered how you define "Objective journalism". Conservatives always say that there's a liberal media bias (they refer to Hollywood, understandable. They also refer to MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and CBS. The last few I never get). But liberals point out that Fox News is biased (I can't see anything that would state otherwise).

I'll check that article later.. but I don't watch the news giants to get an understanding of who this "liberal media" is. This liberal media is doing a better job of hiding it than Fox News is

That is sort of the point. First, there is difference between journalism and the opinionated shows. Fox News, more than the other organizations mentioned, make it more clear as to what is complete opinion and reporting. The liberal bias is sleek and underhanded. MSNBC will report global warming (or climate change, or whatever is the flavor of the month name for it) as if it is fact. Even a CBS news report will assume more leftist viewpoints. Really the only reason Fox News may be so clear in their bias is that almost every other news organization tends toward the opposite. If CBS, ABC, and CNN all were centralist (or right leaning) Fox News may appear similar and MSNBC may appear the more obviously biased.

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