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Can the media ever be impartial?

The weirdness of being able to send radio and television signals across vast distances confused the logic of many in the pre-internet world. During the rise of "broadcast media" through the 20th Century the idea that someone could be "impartial" and "objective" was incredibly important and some people even believed it was possible.

The reason the absurd notion that one could detach themselves from a perspective was so important seems mainly to be that it was used to justify the restriction of broadcasting licences by Governments and the use of public money to set up and maintain some radio and television stations.

A human's understanding of the world is dependent upon their perspective. It's incredibly hard to argue otherwise. Any notion of "impartiality" is defined by your particular interpretation of the definition of that word. Broadcast media can only provide a point of view and, in my opinion, is far more honest if it keeps that in mind.

This short debate is cut from my podcast, predated the awful Jimmy Savile revelations and initially appeared on Radio Talk in 2011.


Nick Margerrison

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Recently I have been contacted by a number of friends/collegues/randoms to appear as a guest on radio programs they are producing. Contact me through Twitter if you're keen for me to debate "impartiality" anytime soon. I suspect there won't be many who want to talk about this one...

Final note, I'm very concerned to hear that one of my favorite podcasts, The Disinfocast, is to be cut back to once a month. There are many highlights in and among the archive. One of them hits the topic of this post pretty well: Episode 038

In it Matt Staggs and Abbey Martin have one of the most honest and informed discussions I've ever heard on the topic. Go have a listen!

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