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The limits of objective reporting

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael



The aim of this study is to scrutinize the assumption that objective reporting is good reporting, is ethical reporting. I do this by reflecting on different dimensions that are associated with the concept of objectivity: (1) accuracy; (2) truthfulness; (3) fairness and balance, and (4) moral neutrality. It is asserted that in many cases journalists are not objective in their reporting either because they consciously prefer not to be or because they are being manipulated by their sources. I close by asserting that the values of not harming others and respecting others should play a prominent part in the considerations of journalists. These are basic ethical standards that sometimes require normative reporting. Consequently, morally neutral coverage of hate speech and racism is a bad idea. It is a false and wrong conception. Subjectivity is preferable to objectivity when the media cover illiberal and anti-democratic phenomena.


Cohen-Almagor, R. (2008). The limits of objective reporting. Journal of Language and Politics, 7(1), 136-155.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2008
Online Publication Date May 26, 2008
Publication Date Jun 6, 2008
Print ISSN 1569-2159
Electronic ISSN 1569-9862
Publisher John Benjamins Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 1
Pages 136-155
Keywords Linguistics and Language; Sociology and Political Science; History
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