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.

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