The journalistic objectivity which the American press aspire to does not exist as such in Europe, and I say Europe is better off because of that. Peruse the newspapers of individual European countries and it will become clear enough that information is presented along a broad political spectrum. The general fidelity that many European newspapers have to a political platform, however, enables them to take a stand and support their claims accordingly…with facts! The mainstream American media may be ready to follow suit.
If you’re a liberal in the U.K., perhaps you read The Independent; if you’re a conservative, perhaps you prefer the Daily Telegraph. Likewise, La Libération in France is sympathetic to leftist politics while Le Figaro is more sympathetic to the right. Most national papers the world over report on the same national stories, but to fill the remainder of the pages, the papers must choose which stories to cover depending on their political values. In America, this reeks of an imprisoned press (as opposed to a free one), but freedom in this case is too often a euphemism for non-committal, amoral reporting that is content not to criticize demonstrably false claims made by those on either side of a supposed “controversy.”
The Columbia Journalism Review criticizes CNN on just this point, saying that the political musings of Jon Stewart often provide more meaty journalism than the News Network itself because of its fear of engaging real political arguments.
Well, until CNN gets its act together, I recommend you tune in to ABC’s This Week, which will interview Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Gates, and Rudy Giuliani on Sunday. Importantly, ABC is teaming up with the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com to fact-check its guests! The fact checks will appear on both This Week’s website and PolitiFact.com. Happy viewing!
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, user Emijrp/Commons/eo/15.