Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Another fine journalist, lost to reality

Really there is an awful lot that one can say about the Atlanta Progressive News firing a reporter for "[holding] on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy".

One might say that Aristotle had a good go of it, but he simply had no place in modern opinioneering, and that it's about time someone took a professional editorial stance on the outdated notion of "an objective reality"; because really, that thing has been knocking about for literally (not literally) aeons, and we put little boys in chimneys in the old days, but we don't do that any more, so why do we still persist in this "objective reality" scam?

Perhaps one might wonder why the Atlanta Progressive News is throwing its lot in with the notoriously reality-averse Bush II administration: because that cadre's stance on reality in the age of the American Empire, while surely radical in its day, must have been supplanted by new and ever more exciting ontological advances since then?

I suppose in the end one has to give the Atlanta Progressive News some credit for hewing to cutting-edge scientific theories. Apparently the Universe is actually just a great big hologram anyway; so as long as the ousted Jonathan Springston is replaced by a foreign correspondent reporting directly from the holographic plane, then their stance on reality is to be lauded.

Hoorah for reality!?


Anonymous said...

I think people hold onto the notion of objective reality because they can't stand the sensation of groundlessness. Still, poor guy; he was only holding fast to what most of his readers would see as common sense.

Homage said...

I'd agree with that in a personal sense. One of the first things you learn in documentary filmmaking is that there is no such thing as objective reporting: as soon as you decide where to put the camera, you've literally created an "angle" for your story.

But I still like the idea that journalists might strive for some Platonic notion of attempting a connection with "the real" in their reportage.

You've reminded me just how subjective I am on a day basis, Anonymous. Apparently a large part of this is just me being contrary.

Jo said...

Well my stance has always been, while there is no One True Final Objective Truth that we can experience or describe, there IS something which is reasonably close to Reality As Most People experience it and wrt journalism, surely there is benefit in using this as the basis for your investigation, while still being aware that you have personal slant?

I mean the APN seems to be objecting to how US Media presents itself as "objective" while serving corporatist interests and is therefore washing its hands of the entire idea of collectively experienced reality INSTEAD OF getting irritated at the term objective being hijacked.

Which reminds me why I generally hate US journalism because it thinks it's so very "objective" when by the standards of the rest of the world, it's bloody shocking.

ontic5 said...

A very interesting story. I must at least partly agree with APN. We are all biased and shouldn´t pretend not to be. This leads to the question if there is something as "objective reality" APN thinks there is not.

But even if there is, how could anyone say for sure what this "objective reality" is? If there is more than one opinion on a given topic who is to say who´s right? Even a majority decision would be anything but objective. And even if there was an unanimous opinion on a given topic, all could be wrong.

If you don´t want to hang the case at hand that high, you could break it down to a simple political matter (I think): the reporter has a different political agenda than the paper he works for, which states explicitly that “Progressive news is news that brings us closer to universal health care, living wages, affordable housing, peace, a healthy environment, and voting systems we can trust."

Since I don´t know either APN nor the reporter in question I can´t say how far they are taking their approach. Are they ignoring facts (or what we would call them), are they taking their agenda too far?

Judging from german newspapers I know, one can easily find the political agenda of every one of them. That doesn´t mean that they are bad/sloppy just because of that.

A nice example for different "angles" of a photo can be found here:

オテモヤン said...


Matt Powell said...

The very best thing about APN's response was this sentence:

"It should be noted that Nouaree’s motives in writing this piece are questionable, seeing as how he has made negative statements about APN’s Editor in the past."

So that would be a call for... objectivity?