It seems as though – with the influx of opinionated online material and the popularity of polarizing cable news networks – we’ve continued to move further away from pretending as though the presentation of news is an unbiased production. While such a dismissal of a previously held principle will be bemoaned by some, in my mind there’s a benefit to acknowledging the source of one’s opinion and the motivation behind one’s commentary.
As much as we might despise the purposeful spin of the content being presented to us, the increased blatancy of a news organization’s perspective eliminates the pretense of objectivity. Such charades are ceased, along with the subtle trappings that accompany them. In its place we’re handed an exaggeration that’s easy to identify as it pushes us toward multiple sources in search of either acquiring the most accurate version of events or, far more likely, the version with which we might find the easiest to agree.
In a sense, it’s an elimination of authority. Much like a benevolent dictator might be the most preferable method of government, so to is unbiased news reporting the best possible presentation. Unfortunately, the fallibility of humans has produced a history of proving that neither option is actually possible, and so we’ve turned to better and less perfect alternatives.
In doing so with news, the importance of decisions in journalism has been highlighted. It seems remarkable now to imagine that past generations implicitly trusted what narrative – and the details that informed that narrative – a broadcaster chose to share with news consumers. However, the presentation of stories is always a matter of decision, and in making those choices, one expresses themselves and their biases, no matter how objective they attempt to remain.
On Sunday, Judge Thomas Lipps, presiding over a courtroom for a five day trial inside of a Steubenville, Ohio, courtroom, found high school football players Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl. Both defendants were sentenced to a minimum of one year in a youth correctional institute after which child-service experts will determine the remainder of their sentence. They will also be registered sex offenders for the rest of their lives.