Towards news we can trust, from David Weinberger

Towards news we can trust, from David Weinberger

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Hey, people in news try to present it fairly by trying to adhere to the ethics of "objectivity." One way to do that is to present both sides of an argument. Problem with that is that often one side might be dominated by iffy special interests, who are lead by people paid to deceive the public. You'll see that in the health care reform debate, where insurance companies have been caught in unsavory activities.

As a result, "objectivity" results in a news environment where you can't figure out what to trust.

David Weinberger is one of the most perceptive commentators on media, and suggests that "transparency is the new objectivity".

Objectivity used be presented as a stopping point for belief: If the
source is objective and well-informed, you have sufficient reason to
believe. The objectivity of the reporter is a stopping point for
reader’s inquiry. That was part of high-end newspapers’ claimed value:
You can’t believe what you read in a slanted tabloid, but our news is
objective, so your inquiry can come to rest here. Credentialing systems
had the same basic rhythm: You can stop your quest once you come to a
credentialed authority who says, “I got this. You can believe it.” End
of story.

We thought that that was how knowledge works, but it turns
out that it’s really just how paper works. Transparency prospers in a
linked medium, for you can literally see the connections between the
final draft’s claims and the ideas that informed it. Paper, on the
other hand, sucks at links. You can look up the footnote, but that’s an
expensive, time-consuming activity more likely to result in failure
than success. So, during the Age of Paper, we got used to the idea that
authority comes in the form of a stop sign: You’ve reached a source
whose reliability requires no further inquiry.

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