Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I would say many journalists, especially Christian journalists would like to agree that journalism, for the most part is objective. But I believe as a society we should cease putting ourselves on a high pedestal, believing that the majority of us are honest and truthful. Prior to reading both articles, I had the mindset that even though there are subjective journalists out there, objective journalists are in high supply. However, after reading the unrealistic “steps” in David Brooks article “Objectivity in Journalism” that one would have to take to achieve objectivity, I was quickly convinced that objectivity is impossible.

Brooks first step in attaining objectivity, negative capacity, is the ability to put aside prejudices and all forms of bias while looking into a situation with a clean, tolerant mind. Thought this sounds idealistic, I believe it is impossible. In “The Myth of Objectivity in Journalism” by Richard F. Taflinger, he points out the fact that the human brain is influenced by its environment. It is reminiscent of the old age period of enlightenment where there was a humanistic view that man was sinless when he is born, and his environment influences whether he lives a righteous life, or a sinful one. Humans are influenced beings who take in their surroundings and apply it to their everyday life. Taflinger points out that if there was a car accident that seemingly would kill every occupant involved, the cause and the outcome of the accident would be different based on the views and the background of every person.
Everyone wants to believe that they have the correct worldview. But in a world where so many worldviews are tolerated, there is no way that that could be possible. Objectivity is a distant goal that we as humans desire, but our subjective nature will not let us attain it. As a Christian, before I got deep into “Objectivity in Journalism”, I believed that I would agree with his views. But even my own bias came into play because I did not go into the reading with a negative capacity, or modesty for that matter. As a human race we have bought into the idea that there are different truths and no absolute. We make ourselves feel better after we make up steps to achieve objectivity. But as long as we are a race we will always be under the influence of our objectivity.

As a Christian, Objectivity is the ideal. But in a sense, it reminds me of my position as a human and God’s position as the All Powerful One. Christians are not expected to be perfect, but to strive towards perfectness. We lack the ability to be a total objective judge because we are not called to judge one another or situations. There is only one judge and that is God himself.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Why Tell the Truth?

Here's Why!

In Dr. Joseph Stowell’s article, Why Tell the Truth? He explains why as a Christian, we are obligated to tell the truth. Of course, there are moral values such as truth telling which most of world aligns with, regardless of their religion or faith. However, as a Christian, there are reasons we should tell the truth. I think that is great because God is not just forcing us to tell the truth without any reasoning behind it. First, Stowell believes we should tell the truth as a Christian we would in return become more like God. Telling the truth builds character, and that character ultimately sets us close to the character of God Himself. The second reason Stowell gives is that we exist because for the purpose of being Christ-like, which includes telling the truth at all times. The last reason he sites is the fact that by being truthful, we show the authority of God in our submission to his commandments. As an inspiring Christian journalist, these are full proof reasons why I should tell the truth not just in my daily like, but in the workplace as well.
Dr. Stowell goes on to categorize four types of truth distortion. The first is beguilement, which unfortunately probably has been used in journalism many times. In the case of beguilement, a journalist may find themselves for example, in a predicament where he or she may knowingly or unknowingly jump to conclusions in order to “hype up” a legal story. Without knowing the proper information or evidence, the journalist has participated in distorting the truth for personal gain. Deceit, the second type of truth distortion, could be used by a Christian journalist if for instance they neglect to add key ideas belonging to the main points of a story. This happens several times in today’s news stories, especially in television media. People may need to find out more information by checking their local newspaper because in order to seemingly grab the audience’s attention, they will leave out valid, but uninteresting information. The third type of truth distortion, lying, is a common “tool” used in journalism and all forms of communication today and someone may stretch the truth in order to improve the outlook of themselves as a journalist to the public in order to gain affection. The last type is false witness, in which case two journalists may tell lies about each other in order to boost their title in their individual professions.
Luke 16:10 says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” If we can do something as seemingly harmless as telling a “white lie”, then God should not trust us with anything of great value. I agreed with every point Dr.Stowell made about truth distortion, because the moral values of today are rapidly declining.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Response to "Toward A Compassionate Press" by David Aikman

Romans 2:8 says "But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger." It is hard to believe that even amongst journalists who profess no faith, truth is but a small significance.Truth is the essence of Christianity. The Bible was written, not as a fiction story for people to contradict, but as a doctrine of truth that would be a guide to the living. David Aikman says, "Ultimately, every Christian alive has the responsibility of testifying to the world about the truth of Jesus Christ, his death on the Cross and Resurrection." That is saying more than just proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is representing a life that symbolizes Christ through writing. It is so that we can spread the "Good News" of Jesus, as well as the "regular news" of this world. Journalists have a responsibility to accurately report events that take place in history, and history belongs to God. What happens in this world is His story. Secondly, Aikman believes that truth is freedom. The Bible says, in John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. This applies not only to knowing the truth of the life of Jesus, but knowing the truth in all things and justice. But if everything, like Aikman points out, is in fact someway directed toward Christ, shouldn’t there be a humbling of oneself? Even journalists who claim to be Christian are self seekers, but it is humorous because the whole life of Jesus as a mere man was a humble one. The issue of falsified truth is not only been an issue in journalism, but in many other professions as well. Lawyers, doctors, even our political system has been corrupted by lies and self gain.To promote oneself in the first place is sin, but to do it behind the comfort of words in a newspaper is devious. It is seemingly providing the public with valuable information, while really trying to gain glory according to the world’s standards. So while truth, being the essence of Christianity has to be taken into consideration, truth as a Christian Journalist has to be as well. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Whatever journalists report, God has to be the focus and the sole motivation for their purpose.