The UK is an enlightened nation of sane and civil news media, according to a heartening if congratulatory piece on NPR’s Morning Edition. It depicts Britain’s print journalists as a class of thoughtful commentators who eschew objectivity in favor of fair-yet-subjective discourse.
Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger articulates what Americans seem to know but are loathe to admit: deciding what is news is political in itself. (See our outrage over those “Fair and Balanced” Bill Sammon memos.) Rusbridger says:
“No judgments are free of ideologies, so who you choose to quote and how you structure stories are highly political judgments. I think that’s the problem with trying to place too much faith in something called objectivity.”
A common refrain is that British newspapers can be slanted because Britons trust BBC to deliver objective news. Which makes sense to us: TV is better suited to fast, breaking news coverage, whereas newspapers have the time to provide context, albeit biased. It also means the country doesn’t need to employ an entire industry of crazy-but-camera-ready partisan shouters.
The article conveniently ignores Britain’s notoriously inaccurate tabloids, but rest assured the Britons are getting their fix of sensationalism somewhere.
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