Fairness in journalism

posted by Jason Kottke May 13, 2005

There's an interview with author Michael Pollan (he wrote the highly regarded The Botany of Desire, which I have yet to read) on AlterNet. The teaser indicates the piece is all about food and the environment, but most of it ends up being about journalism, including this good bit:

I think perfect objectivity is an unrealistic goal; fairness, however, is not. Fairness forces you — even when you're writing a piece highly critical of, say, genetically modified food, as I have done — to make sure you represent the other side as extensively and as accurately as you possibly can.

Many blog evangelists point to the success of blogs, many of which are about as far from objective as you can get, as evidence that objectivity isn't required in telling a story, sharing a viewpoint, or in the search for truth. But it's important to keep Pollan's thoughts about fairness in mind before we throw the fairness baby out with the objectivity bath-water. So be subjective, but be fair also...you'll find you may get more mileage out of your arguments that way.