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Balance in Campaign Coverage
Unformatted Document Text:  Coverage Balance 4 traditional news values results in negative, conflict-dominated, and interpretive reporting, which tends to slant campaign coverage. 8 Thus, journalists’ personal political views have been seen as affecting their news decisions even in democratic countries with a strong tradition of objectivity. 9 Hess concluded that the nature of Washington, D.C. news gathering adds to the journalists’ freedom regardless of an news organization’s size, and that the White House press corps may be best characterized as liberal overall but considerably more conservative than it used to be. 10 The concept of balance in coverage should follow from the idea of objectivity. 11 Objectivity, as a journalistic norm, offers a conceptual standard by which campaign coverage can be assessed. However, the idea of objectivity has also been a source of confusion. There are disagreements about whether investigating balance is achievable or desirable and in what form complete balance exists. Tuchman, for instance, warned of the possibility that journalists use the idea of objective reporting as a strategic ritual to protect them from mistakes and critics. 12 According to Martin Bell, a former BBC-TV war correspondent, so-called objective reporting is “by-standers’ journalism” in that good journalism uses reporters’ “eyes, ears, minds, and store of experience, which is the very essence of the subjective.” 13 Kuklinski and Sigelman even argued, “We find it prudent to avoid evaluative terms like ‘bias’ altogether,” where both scholars recognized bias as a deviation from objective reporting. 14 But some evidence suggests that the belief in objectivity works in the newsroom. Journalists are seen as having a commitment to public responsibility. When the intentions of news sources are seen as inconsistent with reporters’ conception of public responsibility or balance, they are likely to disbelieve the sources. 15 The idea of objectivity, it has been suggested, provides journalists with an independent power base that can be used against managerial power in news organizations. 16 Codes of ethics, not just as rhetorical devices, can be “understood as a

Authors: Son, Young Jun. and Weaver, David.
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Coverage Balance 4
traditional news values results in negative, conflict-dominated, and interpretive reporting, which
tends to slant campaign coverage.
8
Thus, journalists’ personal political views have been seen as
affecting their news decisions even in democratic countries with a strong tradition of objectivity.
9
Hess concluded that the nature of Washington, D.C. news gathering adds to the journalists’
freedom regardless of an news organization’s size, and that the White House press corps may be
best characterized as liberal overall but considerably more conservative than it used to be.
10
The concept of balance in coverage should follow from the idea of objectivity.
11
Objectivity, as a journalistic norm, offers a conceptual standard by which campaign coverage can
be assessed. However, the idea of objectivity has also been a source of confusion. There are
disagreements about whether investigating balance is achievable or desirable and in what form
complete balance exists. Tuchman, for instance, warned of the possibility that journalists use the
idea of objective reporting as a strategic ritual to protect them from mistakes and critics.
12
According to Martin Bell, a former BBC-TV war correspondent, so-called objective reporting is
“by-standers’ journalism” in that good journalism uses reporters’ “eyes, ears, minds, and store of
experience, which is the very essence of the subjective.”
13
Kuklinski and Sigelman even argued,
“We find it prudent to avoid evaluative terms like ‘bias’ altogether,” where both scholars
recognized bias as a deviation from objective reporting.
14
But some evidence suggests that the belief in objectivity works in the newsroom.
Journalists are seen as having a commitment to public responsibility. When the intentions of
news sources are seen as inconsistent with reporters’ conception of public responsibility or
balance, they are likely to disbelieve the sources.
15
The idea of objectivity, it has been suggested,
provides journalists with an independent power base that can be used against managerial power
in news organizations.
16
Codes of ethics, not just as rhetorical devices, can be “understood as a


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