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The New Ideology of Journalism
in the news: Triggered most immediately by continuing protests over a long history of discrimination against African-Americans and differences in opinion over how matters involving race are reported—but undoubtedly influenced by a USA president who appears to not value facts yet continually refers to the "fake news," "lamestream" media —there are signs that professional journalistic standards are changing. In its July 18 2020 edition, The Economist ran a piece entitled "The Future of Journalism—Invisible Men." This followed an oped leader of the previous week, "The New Ideology of Race." Seems that many journalists increasingly see an objectivity based on "bothsidesism" as misleading—chiefly when one side is supported by facts and the other isn't. Yet the way forward isn't clear. An approach advocated by Pulitzer prize winner Wesley Lowery urges reporters "focus on being fair and telling the truth" but not hesitate informing their reporting with "moral clarity". Apparently a consensus building around this approach at The New York Times led to the resignation of Times editor Bari Weiss, who feared that, if adopted, the quest for truth would no longer "be a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job it is to inform everyone else."
commentary and analysis (by Stephen P. Cook, founder and manager, project Worldview, www.projectworldview.org): I like Weiss' use of the phrase "collective discovery" since it implies that moving forward in the direction of truth in complex issues is a learning from feedback process. And I like what The Economist—which I see as a centrist but yet unabashedly liberal publication—wrote in the oped noted above in defining the philosophy behind it:
“Liberalism thrives on a marketplace of ideas, so diversity has a vital role. Liberalism does not fight power with power, which risks replacing one abusive regime with another. Instead it uses facts and evidence, tested in debate, to help the weak take on the strong. Liberalism is all about progress, including putting right its mistakes—and there have been many, especially over race, including finding reasons to accommodate imperialism and slavery. That is one reason why, in the 250 years in which it has been influential, humanity has seen unprecedented material, scientific, and political gains, as well as extension of social and political rights.”
All of this brings me to Project Worldview and something you can expect to see more of on this website in the future: opinions. Beyond these Worldview Watch articles, we plan on eventually supplementing each of the fifty-two choices in the Choices We Make cards and booklet with online "Discussion, including In Our Humble Opinion" sections. The journalist approach behind the composition of these discussions will value the themes designated with the * in the six choices identified in the table below. This is more or less in keeping with past policy—with the possible exception of the indicated preference for the "Egalitarian Progressive" theme over the "Hierarchical Rigidity" one. Anyone who looks at the "Our Logo, Our Hope" statement on our homepage could perhaps guess our preference here—although personally I generally favor at least one aspect of hierarchies: those which involve meritocracy-based structures.
What about our "Neutrality Pledge"—which
you'll also find on the homepage? While opinions will soon more formally
be expressed on this website, we nonetheless hope to express them in a
gentle fashion as described in the "Humbly
Unsure" theme description. A person who values this theme
"enters arguments hesitantly, but
after presenting facts and
noting uncertainties, may confidently seek the truth and express an opinion."
We feel that proceeding in this way is consistent with our long-time promise, "We won't force our beliefs on you! We will help you find your way in taking a free inquiry path to a worldview."
Note: While the * themes in the choices above will guide future Project Worldview pieces which venture opinions, news services in western democracies professing to operate in the public interest might benefit from looking over the details of the preferences expressed here by clicking and reading the individual theme descriptions. In particular, I'd say Fox News —and in general all "lamestream media" —could benefit from more "Intellectual Freedom" and less "Group Think Imperative."
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