Lehrer reported that “Exhibiting absolute neutrality while showing judgment in deciding what the issues are,” is an essential ingredient in reporting. I was reminded of the famous closing line of another venerable newsman, Walter Cronkite, with his “and, that’s the way it is” Does this statement lead one to believe the maxim of “absolute neutrality?” Can one both filter and package the news at the same time as one claims to be impartial in its conveyance? News delivery entities have tremendous power. But while much of it is derived from what is seen on television or written on the pages of papers like this one, isn’t more power derived from what is withheld from public view?
If Cronkite, Lehrer and other are deciding what is news and what is not, aren’t they determining what’s “the way it is?” Don’t they become a maker of history as much as they are a reporter of it? Can anyone hope to be “absolutely neutral?” And, do we really want them to be? Wouldn’t a superior approach be one where biases, political and otherwise, are simply known to all? Isn’t absolutely honest better than absolutely neutral?
This column was published on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 in the Current in Carmel, Current in Westfield, Current in Fishers, Current in Zionsville, and Current in Noblesville - http://youarecurrent.com/