Four months ago, tremendous amounts of Hefeweizen had me talking to a stranger at Big’s Bar in Fullerton about the state of journalism and what was needed to keep it relevant.
The stranger’s name was Alex, a well-spoken, hipster geology major who had a plethora of opinions and the facts to back them up. My kind of adversary for banter.
I said to him that political correctness is ruining our society and that people need to be exposed to subjective information, not only objective. I went on to defend my statement by elaborating on the need for human connectivity and the emotional assessment of information. A politically correct, objective reporter cannot reach people on an intimate level, and therefore cannot act as a catalyst for introspective thought and the shifting of perspectives.
His drunk friend, grazing the sidelines of our discussion asked, “What’s the difference between subjective and objective?”
“Objective is science. Subjective is bulls–t,” Alex replied.
Surely, coming from someone majoring in a science, this was a subjective statement.
Within the world of journalism, objective reporting is a sign that you are a professional who is only concerned with the facts and with empowering people to receive information and sculpt their own opinions. A noble endeavor, no doubt, but there is still a divide in our news outlets: left and right. It’s a fair assumption to suggest a conservative will tune in to Fox News to get his or her information, and a liberal, MSNBC. If either side of the political news spectrum is “fair and balanced,” why is there this breach? The answer is, quite simply, that these news outlets are not objective.
The reality is that they are “subjectively objective.” Subconscious and subliminal in their nature, these media outlets shift their audience’s view of the world to conform to their own, behind the façade of objectivity. This creates an even stronger oppositional angst between the left and right wings. The blue and the red. The country is split almost exactly in half, each clutching the heavy weight of political pride and certainty.
Divide and conquer. Where there is no unity, there is no power.
The subjectivity of news media should go beyond the superficial concerns of conservatism or liberalism and should appeal to a greater sense of truth and causality.
Mark Twain said, “Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”
What good is patriotism, though, without a consensus view of what is fundamentally and situationally patriotic?
The future of news media cannot be the same, mundane regurgitation of subjectively objective facts and figures anymore. The future of news needs to be entertaining; it needs to be artful; it must force you to question your beliefs. It needs to make you hate your country when it is warranted and love it the same way.
These things can only unfold in their true blossoming nature as subjective news reporting. A shout to the hearts of the people. A reach for the emotional response that art has on its admirer. Then, and only then, can we begin to achieve unified societal progress with little delay.
Subjectivity may be counterproductive when it is riddled with inaccuracies; but they are imperative to our growth when they are rooted in fact.