Always interesting — the question of what constitutes objectivity.


With the term “reform” being tossed around like an Ivy League acceptance letter at a high school graduation party, the need to suss out the possible bias and slant of a source often gets overlooked. Is a columnist with undisclosed connections any different than a press relations officer? Is a reporter on the payroll of a group with an agenda really a reporter?

The search for a touchstone on objectivity doesn’t often lead to treasure, but sometimes perspective can be gained from casual reads far removed from one’s beat. While not offering any definitive answer, I plucked this novel definition of objectivity from Sports Illustrated tennis reporter Jon Wertheim:

“‘Objectivity’ doesn’t mean an absence of opinion. It means an absence of conflict or motive. We expect the movie reviewers to have strong feelings and subjective observations about movies. We don’t expect them to be on the payroll of a studio…

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