Dec 19, 2013
Journalistic Objectivity Sours Wall Street Reporting
Posted on Sep 25, 2011
In an attempt “not to judge either side” involved in the anti-corporate demonstrations that have gone on near Wall Street since Sept. 17, New York Times reporter Brian Stelter used the word “battle” in a tweet to describe Saturday’s altercation between police and protesters, in which officers pepper-sprayed apparently peaceful demonstrators.
New Jersey journalist Michael Tracey took issue with Stelter’s choice of words. Despite video evidence that Tracey says shows police used undue aggression against protesters, Stelter characterized the two parties as battlers, a word Tracey points out suggests both were equal aggressors in the conflict. Both Stelter’s description of the events and his justification of the wording are emblematic of “a sacred standard of impartiality” that many reporters state is their prime journalistic duty, a standard that Tracey argues is often used to obscure rather than accurately report events. —ARK
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