Impartial Media Matters, But Is It Possible?

A human’s understanding of the world is dependent upon their perspective. It’s incredibly hard to argue otherwise. Any notion of “impartiality” is defined by your particular interpretation of the definition of that word. Broadcast media can only provide a point of view and, in my opinion, is far more honest if it keeps that in mind.

The weirdness of being able to broadcast radio and television signals across vast distances seems to have confused the logic of the pre-internet world. The rise of “broadcast media” throughout the 20th Century brought the idea that someone could be “impartial” and “objective” when relating their story. It was an incredibly important concept and some people even believed it was possible.

This short debate is cut from my podcast, predated the awful Jimmy Savile revelations and initially appeared on another podcast called Radio Talk in 2011:

Belief in this absurd notion that “journalists” can somehow detach themselves from their perspectives was used to justify various Governments restricting the number of broadcasting licences allowed in their territories.

In the UK the concept was pushed even further by The BBC with a new tax called “the TV licence” being set up to maintain radio and television stations with the flawed concept as one of its central unchallengeable dogmas.  As the UK’s biggest media organisation and largest graduate employers people were effectively paid by the organisation to believe it was possible to be “unbiased”.

The Disinfocast, hits the topic of “impartiality” with characteristic honesty here: Episode 038

In it Matt Staggs and Abbey Martin have one of the most honest and informed discussions I’ve ever heard on the topic.

Go have a listen!

Nick Margerrison ( my twitter is here )


Recently I have been contacted by a number of friends/collegues/randoms to appear as a guest on radio programs they’re producing. Contact me through Twitter if you’re keen for me to debate “impartiality” anytime soon. I suspect there won’t be many who want to talk about this one…

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  • Simon Valentine

    oh sweet snap, cackle and hops! it’s not solicitation that media is not intrinsically and definitively impartial and neutral?!? each character speaks for itself is neither an ultimatum nor a decision problem?!? say, this is that old bureaucratic shit, isn’t it? it doesn’t seem to be Japanese or Korean… did i read the wrong article, or did i write it in your head wrong that i wasn’t confused?

    the logic hides in many places, changes copies from the faces.

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