Unprincipled and subjective

Unprincipled and subjective

I’m back in the UK for the first time since the liquids/gels restrictions. Just one more addition to the indignities of post-9/11 travel. (I also got stuck in traffic on the way to the airport, thanks to the so-called partial reopening of the I90 East connector.)

In the UK the newspapers don’t pretend to be objective. Even the “quality” papers inject not-so-subtle editorial comments into their headlines and news stories. It’s better in some ways because it helps remind the reader to use his own brain in interpreting events, but the papers do tend to cater to some of the baser instincts.

US papers generally purport to be objective, yet editorializing slips in anyway. Here’s an example Mickey pointed out from the New York Times:

Some developing countries, as part of a principled stance in a broader public health debate, will allow their manufacturers to make certain generic medicines, for example, for AIDS patients, without paying license holders.
If a country says it is going to refuse to allow drug patents so as to save money, describing that as “principled” in a news article is editorializing. It could just as easily have accurately said “unprincipled.”
September 6, 2006

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