Objectivity

Via MT at Planet3, we have a nice quote from FAIR:

This is what I like to describe as the difference between objectivity and “objectivity.” Objectivity is the belief that there is a real world out there that’s more or less knowable; the “objectivity” that journalists practice holds that it’s impossible to know what’s real, so all you can do is report the claims made by various (powerful) people.

The topic at hand is of course electoral politics and political reporting in general, but it has very clear relevance to climate science reporting and science reporting in general.  While we are recalling the pre-2012 presidential election Nate Silver, I was very bemused by the NYT’s embarrassed scolding of Silver’s offer to bet on the outcome as it showed their inability to distinguish between describing a reality (Obama is likely to win) versus advocating for a particular outcome (I hope Obama wins).   Similar to the way they feel that saying “Party X is not telling the truth” is indistinguishable for “We support Party Y”.

5 thoughts on “Objectivity

  1. To be fair (no pun intended), many English words have more than one meaning – objectivity being one of them – and it all depends on context.

    In the context of science, the correct meaning should be “free of emotion or bias”. Unfortunately, its not a position which is adopted by the denier echo chamber.

    Like

  2. What the major media want is attention, and the way to get attention is with emotions, so they excel in pot-stirring and emotionalisms of all kinds.

    The most crass example is “cry porn.” Not a single night goes by on every local TV news station, without a reference to “crying”, “tears,” and suchlike. Funerals, particularly involving tragic deaths, are feeding frenzies. The biggest prize is to catch someone immediately after a tragic death of a loved one, in order to milk them for every last tear and every last sob. “Daughter dies, father cries, all the boo-hoos at six!”

    Compared to that, climate hand-waving and focus on false controversies, is almost mild sauce. Except that inaction on climate is an existential threat to the species. I suppose you can call that “cry porn on loan, at high interest rates.”

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s