Thursday, April 7, 2011

Opinionated Journalists

Keith Olbermann of MSNBC recently donated funds to a specific political party. Due to the network’s rules, he violated one by donating the money. The company says that none of their employees may take public sides to any political party by donating funds unless there is specific permission (which Olbermann did not have). After suspending him, the company representatives decided to lift his suspension, deciding that the temporary suspension was a sufficient punishment to Keith Olbermann.

It’s a pretty controversial subject to whether or not journalists and news reporters should be able to present their opinions on different topics such as interests, political parties and also controversial topics such as gay marriage or abortion. For me personally, I think it is important to remember what the purpose of the writer/reporter is. For instance, if your purpose is to persuade, then yes, taking a side is vital and mandatory. But with news, the purpose is generally to inform, which requires a non-bias standpoint. For all intensive purposes let’s say for this blog post that the purpose is to inform. In that case, I am going to say that indefinitely, the reporter or journalist should present his or herself in a non-bias context.

First of all, when it comes to informing, if the informer (writer or reporter) has a certain standpoint on the subject at hand then when they present their information, it will be presented strongly and more informatively from the informers interests rather than a non-bias report. This leaves the reader only being halfway and not wholly informed. Next, it’s important to avoid taking sides in order for the network to avoid conflict and strife from their views/readers. Many people are passionate about beliefs, and taking sides could possibly be the downfall of a networks proficiency. Finally, it’s important because taking a stance on a certain topic can be seen as favoritism and the company/network may even possibly lose their viewers/readers in that case.

It’s important for reporters and writers to remain un-bias by doing their research on the different subjects and topics their presenting in order to inform the audience of the topic wholly and not one sided. Giving a one-sided presentation on a topic leaves the viewers upset and frustrated due to not being able to fully understand the topic at hand; but only one side of it.

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