A Journalist’s Courage? Bush, Shoes and Objective Reporting

In your face!! well,…almost. Whilst the whole shoe-throwing incident was pretty hilarious and will be over-reported in respect to its actual impact, I really hope that Muntadhar Al-Zaidi is gonna be okay. Judging by the treatment that he got in the seconds after the incident (very heavy-handed) its hard to say that he isn’t going to be made an example of…Another major thing that has been slightly annoying is people stating that it isn’t his place as a journalist to be doing such things…One Blog commentator stated “whatever happened to objective reporting???”

Firstly, if you knew anything about anything (sorry, but this annoys me!)you’d know that most journalists have accepted that there is NO such thing as objective reporting… It’s simply not possible as everything a journalist reports (or ignores) is shaped and coloured by the millions of beliefs and perspective which they hold depending on their age, gender, status, race, etc..
And if your really wanted to have objective reporting than all you could report was a random list of confirmed facts (also again I have my doubts about ‘facts’ and when they happen to exist and when they are conveniently forgotten..) which doesn’t exactly make for interesting reading..

Secondly, journalists have every right to express their opinions, after all they are citizens and as Theodre Glasser (1992) remarks: “objective reporting has denied journalists of their citizenship; as disinterested observers, as impartial reporters, journalists are expected to be morally disengaged and politically inactive”. (– @page { size: 21cm 29.7cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } –>From Vincent Campbell, Information Age Journalism: Journalism in an International Context. London, Arnold Publishers. 2004, p166-7.)

It’s time people accepted that journalists in fact need to be activists and not neutral witnesses to history; that they can express their opinions without having to question their legitimacy. If all journalists were as honest about their views and about what they experienced as Muntadhar, then maybe more people would trust the media and also encourage them to act (rather than question their professionalism) on any injustices they see..

..also another fantastic cartoon by Latuff

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