Hey, MSM: All Journalism is Advocacy Journalism

Eric Garland Intelligence Analysis Leave a Comment

Matt Taibbi is a national treasure for his ability to rip the façade off America’s biggest frauds, even when they require extraordinarily sophisticated analysis. His latest for Rolling Stone was inspired by Meet The Press’ David Gregory suggesting that Glenn Greenwald should be arrested for reporting the leaks of Edward Snowden in The Guardian. Taibbi destroys the notion that some media figures are biased and some represent the Aristotelian unities, or whatever:

All journalism is advocacy journalism. No matter how it’s presented, every report by every reporter advances someone’s point of view. The advocacy can be hidden, as it is in the monotone narration of a news anchor for a big network like CBS or NBC (where the biases of advertisers and corporate backers like GE are disguised in a thousand subtle ways), or it can be out in the open, as it proudly is with Greenwald, or graspingly with Sorkin, or institutionally with a company like Fox.

Moreover, all analysis is biased by the person who writes it and is biased for the person paying for it. Financial auditors, bloggers,  competitive intelligence reviews (gasp!) and everybody else. We’re all biased – and why shouldn’t we be? We are humans with unique personalities, cultures, and agendas.

The dangerous idea is that somebody isn’t biased. When someone is pushing the notion of analytical neutrality, you should keep one hand on your wallet.