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Much Ado About Objectivity July 5, 2007

Posted by Ned Stark in Uncategorized.

This post was inspired by Gerald’s comment found here.

Anyway, for convenience sake;

I think that’s what Singapore needs and it’s also what Singaporeans want: original, honest reporting, not the same old anti-establishment rhetoric. I have friends who are interested in current affairs but don’t read blogs and don’t read Straits Times either because they find both too skewed.

There are several issues with regards to the above, one of which is the perennial issue of New Media content. Is the content of the New Media so “Skewed”? Is the New Media so steeped in anti establishment rhetoric?

And the answer of course is no. There is no doubt that there are blogs which are totally anti establishment. However as said earlier, there are a many more blogs out there which do not offer the usual hate speech fare. Furthermore there is a distinction between anti establishment views and being anti establishment. The latter would, I opine, involve disagreeing with everything or nearly everything the government says. But if one bothers to talk to some bloggers, or bothers to follow some of the posts by bloggers, one would find that just because a blogger happens to take a view contrary to the establishment in a certain regard, it does not follow that the blogger hates the government. One good example is Aaron. He disagrees with the government on certain points but agrees with them on some points. Mr Wang too may come across as wholly anti establishment but he does give the government its due. And a closer look at those blogs will reveal that they are anything but partisan political activism. All they do is highlight stuff which the MSM has either not explored fully, or has not bothered to explore.

Furthermore, what really defines this term true objectivity? At the end of the day either way you will lean to one side or another and you may not be on the same side should the issue at hand be different. Honesty and orginality too is in the eye of the beholder. For example one could say that one is for the FT policy and that could result in one being flamed for being pro establishment. Alternatively one could then say that one disagrees with the education system and then the white ninjas would say one is being anti establishment and criticising for the sake of criticising among other things.

As a matter of preference, I would  read both the ST and the blogs to come to my own conclusions regarding certain issues. Of course in that case one has to have an open mind and must be prepared to exercise their brain juices. I guess people tend to take the easy way out and not read either so as to relax their brain. Perfectly understandable. And rather regrettable.

Anyway, if i recall, there are news stations in US which are Republican and those which are Democratic. The issue however is that they have a choice. In Singapore the balance is skewed due to the ST and therefore the Internet can act as a counterbalance. Of course that will involve all them blogs with vitriol but at the end of the day, what is important is one thinks and takes things with a pinch of salt. Because every editor will have his/her prejudices and this could seep into the writing.

* Anyway Yawning Bread makes a good point about objectivity here.



1. passerby - July 8, 2007

objectivity tends towards pragmatism. a leadership that’s known for its pragmatic ways will also insist that her people be as pragmatic. unfortunately, such practices also produce an impassionate and even hypocritical people though there will be others(some) with the disposition to adapt to such formality.
problem solving and resolving injustices in society then become clinical, tedious, dull and dispirited for its people(just like parliamentary debates). a simple problem can become so technically complex that it alienates most of its general population(eg. many injustices in society can be solved without the involvement of costly and cumbersome legal system). being technically objective(no doubt it has its pluses) and potentially complex also leave room for doctoring of facts by ‘experts’, prejudices, monopoly and manipulation of information by the authorities etc etc,which, as you can see, advantages for those in power. now is that a wonder why pragmatic objectivity is promoted here?
this mix of good( it has its pluses) and evil( can be lifeless and abuse), neither hot with the passion of spirited rhetorics( like a preacher on fire) or cold as in dead and unresponsive and thus, deceptively misleading, many find such lukewarmness totally distasteful and unengaging only to be spitted out of the mouth.
such a regime though effective in satisfying some bread and butter issues is more apt in heaping up piles of gold for those who obviously adept in embracing ‘objectivity’ for self aggrandizement.
few can relate to such ‘objectivity’ considering its potential latter’s benefits.

2. scb - July 12, 2007

Objectivity is one of the most difficult item to define, most will have biases and prejudices in almost everything and issues. Political and social matters are amongst the most debatable subjects, as such they add to the complexities and differences existing in any society. Philosophers throughout the history of mankind have had tried to define and make a good world, however, we can say none had succeeded. I can only guess that the reason for failure is simply that man is simply far from perfect.

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