Hitler’s opinion

Journalism with a purpose: A Q&A with Lewis Raven Wallace on The View from  Somewhere – Center for Journalism Ethics

In The View from Somewhere: Undoing the Myth of Journalistic Objectivity, Lewis Raven Wallace mentions a helpful analogy referring to a “news media habit… described as ‘Hitler’s Opinion.'” By this he means that “[R]eporters would call in a bigot from the Moral Majority or the psychiatric profession for a ‘balanced’ take in any article that mentioned being gay, while presenting gay voices exclusively as subjective and non-expert.”

Wallace is quoting from a 1982 publication called Talk Back! The Gay Person’s Guide to Media Action. While this publication may have coined the phrase, “Hitler’s opinion,” to better understand the insane approach of most of the media in the 80s during the AIDS crisis, I also find it helpful to understand my frustration about the PBS News Hour’s propensity to bring on camera people with extreme positions often on the right to establish some kind of weird balance to the perception that public TV is liberal.

Wallace quotes Sandy Nelson, an early advocate of honest advocacy journalism, “Objectivity is a myth, and it’s usually used as a way to go after people who have unpopular or radical ideas that threaten the status quo.”

I am very interested in learning about Wallace’s ideas about the “myth of journalistic objectivity.” In his book I think he a good job of walking through some recent history of American journalism. It’s not pretty. It was relatively recently before outsiders like LTBGQs received anything like fair and accurate coverage. It was surprisingly late before the New York Times even used the word “gay” instead of homosexual or even (!) deviant.

He quotes historian David Mindich’s five components of objectivity: “detachment, nonpartisanship, the use of the inverted pyramid model for news, facticity, and balance.” [from Mindich’s Just the Facts]

Of these five, Wallace argues in favor of retaining only two and discarding the rest: “My argument against ‘objectivity’ doesn’t abandon facts, truth, or the hope that we will pursue them without undue influence from political parties or corporations. Broadly, I argue in favor of facticity and nonpartisanship.”

He credits radio producer Ramona Martinez with this pithy observation: “Objectivity is the ideology of the status quo.”

I’m not doing a very good job of organizing my thinking this morning. This is due to the fact that my rash is even worse. My legs are swollen and puffy. Last night was the first night that the rash significantly disturbed my sleep. Today I tried to use piano practice as a distraction. Distraction is one of my techniques for dealing with the constant itching and burning. That didn’t work as well as it has.

Eileen was kind enough to agree to skipping the concert last night. I didn’t feel well enough to go out.

I have to survive this for thirteen more days if I can’t get an earlier appointment with my dermatologist. I will be calling them on Monday to see if I can get an earlier appointment. At any rate, I’m probably just going to have to live through this bout of rash. I don’t expect much from the dermatologist. If they couldn’t figure it out before, I don’t necessarily think they will figure it out now. My hope is that he can recommend something that will alleviate the itching, burning, and swelling.

When a Witness Recants | The New Yorker

I recommended this longer article to Eileen because it has a sort of mystery/true crime feeling.

Is Amazon Changing the Novel? | The New Yorker

An inside look at self publishing Kindle books on Amazon. I don’t think Amazon is changing the novel but it is making an impact on a lot of genre fiction according to this article.

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