Journalists often cling to the idea of objectivity as the key to their credibility. New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, for instance, defends his insistence on not calling Donald Trump a racist, or not calling out right-wing lies, because doing so would supposedly undermine the paper’s claim to objectivity, and therefore the impact of its reporting; his aim, he told a Times reporter in an interview (The Daily, 1/31/20; Press Watch, 1/31/20), is “sophisticated, true objectivity.”
FAIR has argued against this idea over and over again, and today we offer yet another example of the impossibility of objectivity, and the ways in which media’s explicit or tacit claims to it in fact produce subjective interpretations of events.
The head of a major arms industry group—the Aerospace Industries Association that represents companies like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon— recently announced his personal endorsement of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. As a news outlet, how do you report this story? Who do you interview about it?