He celebrates it!
Stanford Communications Professor Emeritus Ted Glasser, in an interview with The Stanford Daily, asserts that objectivity is an impediment to good journalism. The profession, he said, must “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” Instead, of objective reporters of events and facts to be then used by the publlic to make their own decisions and come to their own opinions. Glasser sees “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality…Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”
Yes, a veteran journalism professor actually believes that, openly admits it, and presumably has been teaching that to journalism students all these years.
It would strain credulity and chance to think he was alone in this approach, especially the way our current journalistic establishment behaves. Bolstering my confidence that Glasser is not an anomaly was Wesley Lowery, an African-American journalist who has been a reporter with the LA Times, CBS News, and currently CNN (what a surprise!). In a tweet, Lowery declared “American view-from-nowhere, “objectivity”-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment…The old way must go. We need to rebuild our industry as one that operates from a place of moral clarity.”
Let me be clear. Since objectivity and the absence of bias are the very foundation of journalism ethics, the positions of Glasser and Lowery (and, I would guess, the majority of American journalists who may not be as candid, self-righteous and arrogant as them) would remove journalism from the ranks of professions, which all have defining ethical mandates designed to make them trustworthy. For a journalist, or worse, a journalism professor, to hold that it should be the objective of journalists to decide what to report and how to report it according to their own ideological objectives based on their personal interpretation of “morality” is a rejection of journalism and an endorsement of the role of propagandist, which is the antithesis of ethical journalism.
For years, law professor/blogger Glenn Reynolds has used a repeating catch phrase regarding U.s. journalists: “Think of them as Democratic Party operatives with bylines and you won’t go far wrong.” That is exactly the role Glasser and Lowery are advocating, and self-righteously to boot. For journalists to embrace that role, based on “morality”—a lazy and transparent cover word for “the objectives and world view we think are the right ones, so they must be right”—is the equivalent of criminal defense lawyers holding the the “moral” way to to their jobs is to decide which clients are guilty, and make sure they get convicted. A doctor who sees the profession of medicine through Lowry’s and Glasser’s moral lens would endorse a duty to allow “bad” patients to die for the good of humanity. Such doctors and lawyers would be kicked out of their professions as unethical.
What anti-journalism advocates like Lowry and Glasser don’t appreciate is that unlike lawyers and doctors, journalists are not especially bright or learned. They do not tend to come from the upper ranks of scholars or the IQ scale. They supposedly have skills in investigation and communication , because their profession is, or was, dedicated to describing reality, not dictating it. They possess neither the training, nor the experience, nor the intellect, nor the character to assume the role of social engineer. Journalists have merely noticed that the public’s trust provides a gateway to power and influence, and they feel it is noble to abuse that trust. In their narcissism, today’s journalists have come under the corrupting spell of Rationalization #14. Self-validating Virtue,” in which an act is judged by the perceived goodness of the person doing it, rather than the other way around. This is applied by the doer, who reasons, “I am a good and ethical person. I have decided to do this; therefore this must be an ethical thing to do, since I would never do anything unethical”…this rationalization short-circuits ethical decision-making, and is among the reasons good people do bad things, and keep doing them, even when the critics point out their obvious unethical nature.”
Morons. All the anti-journalism journalists will accomplish is by turning professionalism into advocacy is to destroy the profession, though not before doing incalculable damage to society.