Daily Archives: 08/31/2011
Affirmative Action Bullshit and You CAN actually still write objectively while holding personal opinions on a topic
I have a feeling that my Beginning Journalism class is going to be the topic of many rants on this blog, this will only be the first.
Yesterday one of the deans came in to finish giving a lecture on “What is News”. The things that make a story newsworthy, important elements of journalism, etc. etc. if you have ever studied journalism you know the drill. If you haven’t studied journalism, but you have a shred of common sense you can understand the concept. It’s a Freshman level class, I’m the oldest person in it….partly because I’m a sophomore and partly because I’m old even for a sophomore. Ugh.
Anyway, one of the things that we talked about was the differences between the people who are commonly the editors in charge of major newspapers and news networks, as opposed to the rest of society. Now I’m not quoting the dean verbatim, I completely admit that, I was not taking detailed enough notes at this point in the lecture to do this. I will tell you the gist of what he said in his lecture and go from there.
The first point I want to address is one that he made when he said that Journalism would be a very tough field for us if we held any strong political beliefs in either direction. Now I will fully admit that my bias (and my knowledge of the majority of Journalism outlets) heard that as “you will have a lot of trouble in this field if you have any strong conservative political beliefs.” You can believe what you will about media and journalism bias that skews the field ever to the left, but I believe it is there even if you don’t.
The dean made this point because my school of Journalism teaches “objective journalism” in which you report the facts of the story, what really happened, where and to whom and how and why…if you can discern the why objectively. This is done in such a way as to remove personal bias from the equation. I like that sort of News reporting…it’s sadly not available on most major news outlets anymore *coughCNNcough* though the News shows on Fox (not the opinion shows, there is a distinction) still manage it quite well.
Now I’ve never pretended that this blog wasn’t biased. You read a few posts and you will realized pretty quickly that I’m a conservative first and foremost and a gay women somewhere far below that on the list.
I don’t write objectively on this blog. Now I do try to make sure I check and double check my facts because I strive for accuracy in my writing, but I will call Liberals idiots, I will call Islam evil, I will call pretty much everything as I see it…usually through the lens of my bias. Now do I think that my bias is the correct and rational way to think? Yes, most definitely. Why else would I think that way?
So I do have some very strongly held political views. Does that impair my ability to write objectively? No.
If you are a good journalist you will know how to separate your biases from the facts and still be able to write objectively. So I can write an objective article about Obama while somewhere, locked in a closet in my brain, my conservative self is rocking back and forth muttering “this President is a moron, this President is a moron” over and over. It can be done.
If you are reading this and shaking your head, saying it can’t be done. That you couldn’t possibly write about something objectively if you felt strongly about it. If that’s the case then you have one of two problems, you are either a very bad writer or you are very weak minded…possibly both, hopefully only the first one…you can be trained out of that one.
The second point he made was one that, upon looking back at it, completely contradicts the previous statement about not holding strong personal biases on “big issues”. He said that there was a need to “diversify” the pool of journalists and editors working at major news outlets (paper and media) because without more females, or homosexuals or people of minority background, the news will not be “understandable and clear” to those who read it.
I thought the whole point of journalism was to not write using your bias. If you are writing something one way, only because you are a women, or black, or gay, then isn’t that writing going to be biased in that direction?
Oh wait. I forgot.
This is the liberal media. The only direction something is allowed to be biased in is toward the “minority”.
Another point, harkening back to post I made about how I didn’t realize I had a separate history from the rest of the world just because I was gay. History is history and news is news people. If it’s important to one group it should be important to every other person living in that area as well.
Stories about gay rights do not just affect gay people. I don’t need a gay journalist to write those articles, because, theoretically, the journalist writing it should be so objective that I shouldn’t be able to tell if they are gay, straight, asexual, or poly-sexual. Unless it’s an editorial, I don’t give a crap about their personal opinion on gay rights. I want to know the facts, minus their opinion on conservative or liberal politics or the morality, or lack thereof, of gay marriage. Besides, gay rights are not any issue that only affect gay men and women. It is a civil rights issue and it does affect the nation in general. We should all be keeping ourselves informed about the topic.
Do you think that women’s suffrage only affected women? No, it had widespread affect on men, women, children, corporations, and the government. That’s why it doesn’t have to be written about by a woman, for women. It’s important, it’s news, it’s for everyone.
There is no need to “diversify” the journalism workforce, there is a need to hire good journalists, objective journalists, no matter their race, gender, or sexual orientation. “Diversifying” the workforce is just Affirmative Action all over again and I bet you can guess how I felt about that. I want to know that I got my job because I’m good at what I do, not because I’m gay and female and the news outlet needed to fill a quota of “minorities”. I want people to get jobs because they deserve them, not because they “need” the job because they are an “oppressed minority”.
And anyone with a conscience and a scrap of dignity should feel the same.