How can journalists be objective when writing about dead children?

Giles Frazer writes: I know that traditional journalism prides itself on maintaining a strict firewall between objective and subjective, between news and comment. The New York Times, for instance, has a separate management structure for each for precisely this reason. But isn’t this just a convenient fiction? I want the paper to write, in big bold capital letters: we hate this fucking stupid pointless war. “Reason is a slave to the passions,” as David Hume famously once put it.

I know, I know: this sort of emotion is not going to solve anything. But in the midst of unimaginable suffering, the idea of calm objectivity feels like a desperate attempt to maintain some thin veneer of civilisation protecting us from the total futility of it all. And when Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, comes on the radio, intoning that false, calm sympathy straight out of the PR handbook, I want to scream. And the double frustration is that screaming is generally understood to be what you do when you have lost the argument. Whereas I can’t shake the feeling that, in these circumstances, screaming is the most rational thing to do. [Continue reading…]

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