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Carol Lee,Thank you for your thoughtful comments.Chris
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All we have to do to answer the question of the importance of unbiased reporting is to look at history. Before the 1920s, neutrality was not an aim of journalism; reporters were expected to employ sensationalism to secure readership, and it was taken for granted that newspapers would present the views of the newspaper owners. An extreme example of what can happen without journalistic standards of neutrality and ethical behavior is William Randolph Hearst's contribution to engagement in the Spanish American War. His (like his colleague's, Joseph Pullitzer's) policy of sensationalism and outright fabrication helped push this country into war by swaying public opinion.
I think there is a place for opinion - when it is clearly presented as such. However, "news" should imply straightforward, unembellished factual information, so that we the public can make up our own minds.
I applaud AP for their willingness to admit their mistake while other outlets shamelessly frame the news while sticking to the story that they are being impartial or balanced. However, I agree that they should acknowledge their error to their entire audience. Only by adhering to the highest standards of impartiality will they be able to retain their reputation as unbiased, and we really need them to.
I think this raises a good question about our own inherent biases that we battle on a constant basis in order to perceive accurately more than one side of a particular story.
I often wonder how many people are capable or willing to attempt to sort what is fact from speculation or opinion in any given article. It requires a sharp and open mind and constant vigilance on the part of the reader - especially when the bias reinforces our own particular view point.
Well done for raising it with the AP.
That's why I had to include the word 'usually'. There are always exceptions, perhaps not often though.
I'm not sure I want to be in charge, but if it all goes wrong, I'm blaming it on somebody else.
Edith, I hesitate to any question that starts "is it ever." For every rule, there's an exception. In general, though, no, reporters shouldn't be injecting their opinions in news stories.
I think all of you can carry on from here. I need to sign off to get some errands done around the house. Since you asked such a good question, Edith, you're in charge here until tomorrow. Carry on. :)
What about Fox News?
Yes.....but. A few people in a small Texas town will know about this retraction....and apology....but the words are already out and they can't be taken back. So many of the AP stories and the big news guys just kinda make their own decision what was said and then interject their own beliefs....Reporters are supposed to report....the people decide what they want it all to mean to them personally.
In a general news story, is it ever appropriate for a reporter to interject his opinion? I don't usually think so. But in an op/ed piece or a 'column', I have no problem with it.
Yes, I don't think it's the reporter's place in a news story to characterize, without attribution, a president's approach. That would be acceptable in an analysis or commentary.
Do you agree with Leach?