Press Impartiality Still Matters Here

Americans are more fortunate than many know in having a wide variety of privately-owned newspapers and other information sources. An example of what can happen without that has been provided in Great Britain.

The BBC, subsidized and thus controlled by the British government, is among the biggest media empires in the world. It has global reach, including appearance on many Americans’ cable television lineups.

A few days ago, the BBC’s governing body ordered “news” staff to cut back on coverage of scientists who dispute global warming theories. In other words, the BBC now will serve as a mouthpiece for those who demand drastic action to combat climate change.

How did BBC officials come to their conclusion? A report on coverage of science stories concluded the BBC has been guilty of “over-rigid application of editorial guidelines on impartiality.”

In other words, BBC journalist have tried to hard to tell the truth.

Here in the United States, government has increased its attempts to manipulate and sometimes to intimidate journalists. But many – again, owned by private companies, not the government – refuse to go along.

Indeed, “slants” can be seen in many news organizations. But the overwhelming majority of us continue to report the news truthfully, as well as we can. Here – thank heaven- there is no such thing as being too rigid about impartiality.