Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Objective Journalism

As regular readers will remember, FLG is deeply skeptical of the idea of objective journalism.  Nobody is objective and trying to create the illusion of it is, at least in FLG's opinion, more insidious than being upfront about the point of view.   This story about a real estate developer who wants to buy a bankrupt Atlantic City casino and turn it into a university for "white" geniuses provides an example.

Here's the gist:
A Florida developer interested in remaking the shuttered Revel Casino Hotel told Reuters his vision for the empty Atlantic City property includes a university that would ideally be attended by students who are "white and over 21."
Next sentence:
Glenn Straub made the incendiary remark, which was his way of describing someone with no financial obligations, during a larger interview about his ambitious plan for the vacant property, Reuters reported.

FLG is okay there.  Incendiary, while getting closer to subjective thoughts by the reporter about the statements, can factually describe that some people are upset, not necessarily the reporter.

Ah, but then we get to the last sentence:
Despite his unsavory comment, his $90 million bid remains on the table.
Now, it is unambiguously clear where the reporter stands.  FLG is fine with that, but the language at the beginning is trying to keep it objective, only at the end does the reporters personal feelings get outed.

FLG would be more comfortable if the reporter had just started the story off with : Racist asshole wants to buy casino.   Regardless of where FLG or anybody stands, best to know where the reporter stands so you can take that into consideration. 

BTW, this is completely separate from the questionable choice to write a story solely using information from another news story, but that's neither here nor there in this case.

2 comments:

The Ancient said...

Straub says very different things in other stories*, so I wonder about the basic accuracy of the Reuters report.

(I suspect he may have said "free, white and 21," but I don't see any clear reference to the context.)
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* See, for example, http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140924_Will_others_challenge_Straub_in_bid_for_bankrupt_Revel_.html

The Ancient said...

P.S. http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/free,_white,_and_twenty-one

I can't speak for Ruby Keeler, but in the Fifties it was always said jokingly.

SEC word: gingers Luncheons: What Alex Salmond has left to him.

 
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