TRUTH AND OBJECTIVITY IN JOURNALISM
Author: Muñoz-Torres, Juan Ramón
Source: Journalism Studies, Volume 13, Number 4, 1 August 2012 , pp. 566-582(17)
Abstract:Since the nineteenth century, the theory of objectivity has been considered a cornerstone principle of journalism. However, during the last decades of the twentieth century, both communication scholars and practitioners increasingly began to contest the main notions embedded in it. As many authors have shown, no other concept has stimulated as much controversy as the concept of objectivity. But, unfortunately, most debates about it have proved to be, not only endless, but inconclusive. Interestingly enough, despite frequent statements by academics and journalists that the paradigm of objectivity is exhausted, when it comes to setting up professional criteria in public debates, this concept inevitably reappears—sometimes in an implicit way—once and again. This proves that it still remains firmly entrenched. This article delves deep into the philosophical underpinnings of the theory of objectivity, namely its positivist presumptions stemming from the empiricist tradition. More specifically, I have attempted to argue that: (1) objectivity is not only an impossible ideal, but rather an ill-conceived question, based upon the mistaken premises of positivism; (2) the concept of objectivity has partly managed to replace a more fundamental one, that of truth, thus becoming confusing and fallacious.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2012-08-01