I’ve always been more of a newspaper reader than TV viewer for news, and that’s especially true nowadays. It’s not that I won’t watch the SIoux Falls 10 o’clock news once in a while – though on nights I’m home this is normally my reading time, or if I’m fortunate snoozing time – and I’ll even turn on CNN some mornings briefly, though I can’t help but wonder how Robin Meade can ever be taken seriously as a journalist. But I never watch Fox News, and I never watch MSNBC.
The TV news broadcaster nowadays I enjoy watching most? I must admit it: Jon Stewart. Sure, he’s by no means a traditional reporter, but when it comes to catching the non-stop hypocrisy of politics on the part of Democrats and Republicans, there are few better. While I will never use anything airing on Comedy Central as my sole or primary news source, Stewart seems to take the typical notion of journalism impartiality and bend it toward the idea of "nothing’s sacred."
In one clip last week, Stewart exposed Fox News as the antithesis of the "fair and balanced" organization it purports itself to be. Media collectively gets a bad rap – sometimes deservedly so, I’m afraid – but organizations like Fox, with its clear Republican bias, and MSNBC, with its overt left-leaning and the almost unbearable Keith Olbermann, do nothing to help the cause of trustworthiness.
Unfortunately, it seems like an ever-growing number of news-watching folks out there don’t seem as much concerned with objectivity than they do with satisfying whatever their ideological fix might be. What else explains the popularity of some of the more larger-than-life news personalities out there (particularly on the right)? And the explosion of blogs and online comments that continue to blur – and shatter – the line between fact and fiction?
The phrase "you can’t believe everything you read in the paper" has been around a while, and there are certainly a fair share of print media organizations that have clear political agendas (take the contrast between The Washington Post and The Washington Times as an example in one city alone). But I can tell you with certainty that everyone in the Daily Globe newsroom works to tell their stories in an unbiased fashion, without regard to their own personal ideologies. In short, it’s "just the facts." And that’s what journalism should be all about.