“There’s no such thing as objective journalism,” Matthew Winston declares at the beginning of a discussion with his father, Brian Winston, surrounding their new book “The Root of Fake News: Objecting to Objective Journalism”.
Published in September of 2020, the book goes through both the history of “fake news” and argues that news has never been objective. Mediated by Raza Rumi from the Park Center for Independent Media, the conversation introduces many of the ideas from their book.
The father-son duo continues to explain “fake news” as more than a phrase politicians use to discredit the media. With this in mind, a lively discussion commences with many questions from the audience following.
Citing Hunter S. Thompson as a favorite journalist, Matthew explains Thompson is one of many who embraces the antithesis of objectivity.
As the conversation continued, I began rethinking where our news comes from and why. When the discussion opened up for questions, I asked how the public should consume their news if there’s no way to find “the truth”.
Brian responds by telling consumers to triangulate. He continues explaining that those with a desire to learn about their world, should have a desire to find out where their information is coming from.
Matthew joins in explaining news is a form of entertainment. There is no true way to write without bias meaning we shouldn’t expect it in the first place. We are not forced to watch the news and therefore it must be entertaining in order for it to get views.
Mentioning Trevor Noah and Stephen Colbert, the idea of news as entertainment becomes clearer. But, it’s not just comedians who use the news as entertainment but your local news stations as well. If they didn’t - why would people tune in?
Overall the Winston’s message is that the idea of truth is a goal for journalists, not a brand.
To me, “fake news” is no longer an idea that I push to the side as a political statement, but with help from both Winston’s, have realized it’s apart of journalism in and of itself. Logging off of zoom, I left with a long reading list to continue this exploration (including their new book).
If you’re interested in purchasing their book, you can get 20% of your purchase now until April 11 by using this link