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MEDIA PERSPECTIVES - November 25, 2015

Editor's Note:


I just wanted to let my readers know that I've created a blog where I will be posting essays and articles I've written on digital and online marketing. It's an extension of Media Perspectives. I hope you continue to read and enjoy!

Here's the link: Jaffer Ali's Blog - Perspectives from a Media Contrarian

Thanks for Reading!

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Advocacy Journalism - Back To The Future
by: Jaffer Ali

(Originally Published: 11/25/09)

The myth of objective journalism has been torn asunder by tens of thousands of citizen journalists who share more with W.E.B DuBois, I.F. Stone and Frederick Douglass than they do with mainstream reporters who feign objectivity.

The three passionate souls mentioned above championed causes. They made no attempt to be "even handed" with the injustices of their day. Bloggers likewise have shed the accoutrements of mythical objectivity and assumed partisan positions from every point on the political spectrum.

The growing merger of opinion and reporting has blurred forever the line between editorial and news. In fact, news is being redefined. Whereas the quasi opinions of MSM "journalists" were previously and largely unchallenged as news, these same subtly veiled viewpoints are today routinely exposed and questioned by Bloggers.

72% of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9-11. This provided the psychological groundwork for a military-driven regime change. It is too simple to say that the administration spinned the nation. That required the full participation of the mainstream media as co-promoters of this patently false and blatantly self-serving agenda.

Where was the mythical "objectivity"?

The myth surfaced again when one of the greatest financial calamities to befall the US breezed through mainstream media. Financial writers became cheerleaders for corporate corruption; a story whose unfortunate conclusion, while yet to be written, seems foregone nonetheless.

Where was (and is) the mythical objectivity?

None of this is really new to the student of history. Case in point: I saw a video of the venerable Walter Cronkite in 1965 reporting aboard a bomber in Vietnam cheerleading for the mission; a stark departure from his subsequent advocacy of our withdrawal from the same war after the Tet Offensive.

But go back even further. The slogan "Manifest Destiny" was such an alluring phrase. Newspapers clung to it. Horace Greeley encouraged us to "Go West". And yet how many treaties with Native Americans were broken over and over as the "objective" journalists of their day turned a collective blind eye inward?

I will stop the history lesson but suffice it to say that the mainstream media has always advocated a point of view, but tried to cloak it. Today one's opinion is not to be hidden but celebrated. FOX News doesn't hide its POV except through its ridiculous slogan, "Fair & Balanced". It is neither fair nor balanced, and the false pretense is nothing more than an empty slogan.

MSNBC is arguably even worse. Chris Matthews still corkscrews his image as "objective" whereas Ed Schultz, Keith Olberman and Rachel Maddow make a less awkward attempt at the folly. Lou Dobbs at CNN was honest with his beliefs regardless of your personal opinion of him.

MSM news is being forced "back to the future"; compelled to shed the myth of objectivity. Some bemoan Fox News' partisan hacking. But this misses the point. They are just becoming more transparent. They are building an audience of like-minded folks. Personally, I think that Fox News has only a passing acquaintance with facts. But with so many choices and informed opinions to ponder these days, who needs them?

Bloggers have already shed the handcuffs of "objective" fiction, just as did the three lions mentioned in the first paragraph. They have no constraints other than their conscience. Bloggers are transparent advocates for their perspectives.

As Ariana Huffington recently said, "Transparency is the new credibility". MSM journalists (Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olberman please take note) across the board need to come clean before they find themselves talking only to themselves about themselves.

Original Article: Advocacy Journalism - Back To The Future

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