Skip to comments.Washington Post Columnist Calls for the End of Impartiality and Balance in Journalism
Posted on 09/24/2022 7:08:02 PM PDT by DeweyCA
In an age of rage, Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor Jennifer Rubin has long been a standout in her attacks on Republicans and conservatives: “We have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.” However, her recent column shows that she has made a clean break not only from Republicans but from reason. The writer (long cited by the Post as their “Republican columnist” for balance) has called for the media to abandon balance and impartiality. Rubin is demanding that the media just become overt advocates in refusing to report both sides in the myriad of political issues in this election.
In her column, Rubin rejects the “need for false balance” because the coverage can suggest that Republicans are “rational.”
“The Kabuki dance in which Trump, his defenders and his supporters are treated as rational (clever even!) is what comes from a media establishment that refuses to discard its need for false balance that it has developed over the course of decades.”
That balance was once called “journalism” but Rubin now calls it facilitating “disinformation.” Balanced reporting is now dangerous and makes the media “a megaphone for disinformation, upholding the pretense that there are two political parties with equally valid takes on reality.”
Rubin’s attack on disinformation is ironic given her own past controversies in misrepresenting news, cases, and events. For full disclosure, I clashed with Rubin over her personally attacking me for a theory that I did not agree with in a column that I did not write. I also challenged her on an equally bizarre column where she wrote about my impeachment testimony and later column misrepresenting the holding in an appellate case involving Trump. That false account was never corrected by the Washington Post. It appears that misrepresenting the holding of a major case is not being a “a megaphone for disinformation.”
Rubin, however, is not alone in this call to abandon the foundational principle of impartiality in journalism.
We have been discussing the rise of advocacy journalism and the rejection of objectivity in journalism schools. Writers, editors, commentators, and academics have embraced rising calls for censorship and speech controls, including President-elect Joe Biden and his key advisers. This movement includes academics rejecting the very concept of objectivity in journalism in favor of open advocacy.
Columbia Journalism Dean and New Yorker writer Steve Coll decried how the First Amendment right to freedom of speech was being “weaponized” to protect disinformation. In an interview with The Stanford Daily, Stanford journalism professor, Ted Glasser, insisted that journalism needed to “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.” He rejected the notion that the journalism is based on objectivity and said that he views “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality.” Thus, “Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”
Lauren Wolfe, the fired freelance editor for the New York Times, has not only gone public to defend her pro-Biden tweet but published a piece titled “I’m a Biased Journalist and I’m Okay With That.”
Former New York Times writer (and now Howard University Journalism Professor) Nikole Hannah-Jones is a leading voice for advocacy journalism.
Indeed, Hannah-Jones has declared “all journalism is activism.” Her 1619 Project has been challenged as deeply flawed and she has a long record as a journalist of intolerance, controversial positions on rioting, and fostering conspiracy theories. Hannah-Jones would later help lead the effort at the Times to get rid of an editor and apologize for publishing a column from Sen. Tom Cotten as inaccurate and inflammatory.
These figures are killing journalism. Polls show trust in the media at an all-time low with less than 20 percent of citizens trusting television or print media. Yet, reporters and academics continue to destroy the core principles that sustain journalism and ultimately the role of a free press in our society. The result is to turn newspapers like the Post into echo chambers for the values of its reporters and a core of liberal readers.
For the rest of the country (including roughly half that voted for Trump), figures like Rubin are saying that they should go elsewhere. They are. Media outlets like CNN have faced sharp declines in viewership and are trying to break away from this advocacy model to restore ratings. (The move has been denounced by some in the media as potentially helping Republicans by fairly reporting their side of these controversies). The movement toward advocacy journalism is likely to build in the coming years to remake the media in the image of figures like Hannah-Jones and Rubin.
Viewers clearly tune in to Fox News and MSNBC for their strong editorial opinion and commentators. However, there has long been a line between reporters and commentators in how stories are presented. If journalists want to be advocates, they can shift to the side of commentary. However, that is clearly not sufficient for some like Rubin who do not want readers to be able to receive both sides of these controversies. Readers are to be shaped in their opinions like impressionable children. That was the message from the conference on disinformation led by media and Democratic figures like the recently fired CNN media host Brian Stelter.
Even as a columnist, I prefer the approach of Theodore White that “when a reporter sits down at the typewriter, he’s nobody’s friend.”
Jennifer Rubin was never really a Republican, as she has never embraced any Republican tenet.
Where does he think there is impartiality and balance in Journalism?!?
A balanced talking head show is, for example, two far Leftwingers, a far Leftwinger claiming to be a moderate, and a Left of Center useful idiot saying he is a conservative.
She’ll be advocating the abolition of horse-drawn carriages and duels next.
In a sane world, she would be fired.
“Washington Post Columnist Calls for the End of Impartiality and Balance in Journalism”
If this is what ‘journalists’ REALLY THINK, it’s time to put an end to their First Amendment protections. If they want to be a ‘player’, then they need to be held to the same standards as the other ‘players’
They are also acting confidently that none of their office-holding stooges will ever again face a fair election.
She’s only about seventy years too late. and definitely 20 years too late.
Wow, a one-sided media that only reports the “good things” one party does. Have we seen anything like this anywhere before?
In what way, precisely, has the MSD NOT been “overt advocates” against conservatives and the Republiican Party, for say, the last 4-5 decades?
Between russiagate covid and the special military operation
It’s worse than I’ve ever seen
And nearly 100% of western media
Lockstep totalitarians who squash alternate info
And many here are good with it
The Washington Post and their propagandist Jennifer Rubin need to be charged for such illegal political contributions-in-kind because that’s exactly what this is.
In a sane world, she’d have never been hired in the first place.
The roots are in the “New Journalism” era of the early 1970s. It was always pretty bad, impartiality is a myth. Who started it though? Well - they did. They advertised it, particularly with election coverage.
Reporting of the facts was left by the wayside, in terms of what might be called “advocacy journalism”. It has simply accelerated at a greater clip. Both print and TV news organizations used to be very clear on what or when they believed to be reporting “News” and what they believed to be “Opinion”. Today, the “News” stories often read similar to a junior high book report or a harlequin romance novel.
It started showing insane levels of partisanship during Clinton eta, shifted into overdrive around the time of Bush V. Gore in 2000 and then they ALL dropped Owsley Acid & Bath Salts with a side order of Datura with the selection of Obama. This chick here is just having a Bad Trip.
Face it, Jennifer. You know you want to say it. “We must exterminate the Republicans and I don’t care how. Republican men, women and children must be destroyed, every last one, so that the world can finally live in peace. We need a final solution to this problem!”
Crazy that she’s the WaPo’s token Republican.
The NYT’s token Republican, David Brooks, at least knows not to go off the rails like this.
She’s late to the dinner table...
Burn down the Republican Party. We have to level them because if there are survivors, if there are people who weather this storm, they will do it again.”
Sounds like a threat to me.
I’m sure a lot of conservatives are scratching their heads over this one.
I would like to point out to Ms. Rubin that the same type of intolerance and targeted attacks on a specific group of people in society is what led to the Holocaust. This is a fact that should be pondered and remembered by a lot of intolerant single minded Americans of Jewish heritage.
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