A plea for objective reporting | AspenTimes.com

A plea for objective reporting

On Jan. 6, the first anniversary of the horrific breach of the U.S. Capitol’s sovereignty, NPR reported again on the deep and dangerous political and ideological divides in our country. If you pay attention to any media source, including Aspen’s papers and social media, it’s easily seen why millions of Americans of both major political parties fear for our democracy while also increasingly growing to hate and distrust those who don’t believe as they do or have different lifestyles.

Reporters must be disciplined and work diligently to report the entire truth of all stories and must dig deep to find the words that most accurately and objectively reflect all facts. A reporter or outlet’s point of view (bias) should never be part of any story. Opinion writers/commentators should ask themselves honestly, “Will the community be better or worse served by my words? Am I encouraging negative actions and feelings? Am I bringing unity or creating division?” Important, challenging topics can be covered in an open-minded, inclusive way.

The American media and press must pivot to being completely objective and holistically factual if we are to move through this moment. Or, like in pre-1900 days, they should openly declare their political and ideological allegiances, so the public knows upfront their point of view. Here’s a test: Reflect on which media sources you most like and trust and your own political affiliation. This often reveals the POV of those sources. Confirmation bias is rampant.

Our country was founded on the principle that there could and should be people of differing beliefs — that balance is critical to our success and survival. We’re stronger and better together. Through objective, truthful reporting and commenting, will the American media stop being complicit and instead work to balance and unify us before another tragedy occurs?

Tiffany Smith


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