The Sham That Is ‘Objective’ Corporate Journalism

In a Consortium News rejoinder (4/30/09) to how “mainstream U.S. news media often laments the decline of objective journalism, pointing disapprovingly at the more subjective news that comes from the Internet or from ideological programming,” Robert Parry writes that

one could argue that the U.S. mainstream press has inflicted the severest damage to the concept of objective journalism by routinely ignoring those principles, which demand that a reporter set aside personal prejudices (as best one can) and approach each story with a common standard of fairness.

The truth is that powerful mainstream news organizations have their own sacred cows and tend to hire journalists who intuitively take into account whose ox might get gored while doing a story. In other words, mainstream (or centrist) journalism has its own biases though they may be less noticeable because they often reflect the prevailing view of the national Establishment.

Parry looks to “double standards” in corporate reportage on Nicaraguan Contras in the ’80s and the 2005 “assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri” to make clear that “how that translates into daily coverage is that an American news outlet often will demand a much lower threshold of evidence about serious accusations against a perceived U.S. enemy than an ally.” Anyway, as a longtime FAIR associate once noted on the age-old debate over the merits of journalistic objectivity: “Passive acceptance of murderous priorities in our midst is a form of de facto advocacy.”