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October 31, 2014 / 7 Heshvan, 5775
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The Search for Objective Journalism


A page of Gemara

A page of Gemara
Photo Credit: Mendy Hechtman/FLASH90

There is a problem with the way news is presented today. But as readers increasingly voice their interest in reading about the truth, not political views, the search for objective journalism has reached the forefront of public consciousness.

The Road to Objective Journalism

Recently there was a call to base the State of Israel according to the Talmud. This is of course a very good thing. That the legal and moral compass of Israel should be according to the Torah. But this isn’t the only recent call to align more steadfastly with objective truths. In America for instance, the push for campaign finance reform results from similar sentiments.

But the call to establish the State of Israel according to the Talmud is already something more. While doing away with Super PACs doesn’t guarantee the election of selfless public servants, running a country according to the God-given laws of the Torah would result in something very great indeed. And since media still holds a great influence on public opinion, in order to establish a more objective country, we first need a more objective media.

Talmudic Journalism

The basis of Talmudic Journalism was discussed two weeks before the call to establish a Talmudic State in an article called (appropriately enough) Talmudic Journalism. But instead of continuing to lay the theoretical groundwork, we have now reached the time (it didn’t take long!) to make it a reality.

We mentioned there that data-driven journalism is a main way that journalists are trying to leap past the subjective-objective gap. If even the curling up of the corners of a news anchor’s lips can affect a presidential election (as discussed there), then how much more so the dreaded opinion piece!

One approach is to spend one’s career speaking out against OP-ED writers (as Nate Silver likes to do … using data of course). But instead of railing against the right-left polarized OP-ED writers of the world, we’d like to try and reach some objective common ground.

Leaving Subjectivity Behind

For my day job (in case you were wondering, these articles are what I classify as my “night job”) I had the opportunity last week to communicate with other journalists directly. Those that I corresponded with via email or phone were very nice and were fair with the pieces they published. But there was one paper that I was hesitant to contact because they have a history of publishing far-left articles. Despite my hesitations, I sent them emails like the others. Although no one contacted me back, they did indeed publish a negative opinion piece.

How should a person respond to something like that? Speak out against the leftist paper? What good does that do?

While Nate Silver thinks that data leads to more objective journalism, our approach once again reverts back to where we began — with the objective law and moral guidance of the Torah.

Debating Under the Tent of Torah

One promising turn of events in our relativity polarized world of journalism is an increasing openness toward facts and figures. No matter how exciting a headline or new story is, instead of being satisfied with the most recent happening, readers now expect to understand the context behind the story. As explained in When Torah Goes Viral, what the world calls context is what we call the landscape of the Torah. No matter how exciting, increasingly the public hopes to gain some insight that will last them past the flash and shimmer of the most current story.

But instead of doing away with opinion pieces entirely, as explained in Talmudic Journalism, the intent is to start including the two opposite approaches of right and left under the one tent of Torah. When a debate is undertaken for the sake of heaven, then objectivity is present throughout because faith in God is present throughout.

Thus the underlying hope behind right-left debates is that objectivity should win out. That instead of two people coming into and leaving the debate with their own stance, the hope, is that truth should shine over both approaches.

Running a nation comprised of the various groups within the Jewish people is challenging to say the least. But whereas the stances and opinions may seem to exist along an impassible divide, the closer we align ourselves to Divine truth, the closer we will become one people. This is the inner intent behind aligning a country according to the Talmud.

For more on how to foster unity between the three types within the Jewish people, please read: Three Types of Teshuvah (Repentance).

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About the Author: Yonatan Gordon is a student of Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, works in the English department of Gal Einai, Inner.org, and also writes his own articles on CommunityofReaders.org. Previously he worked as marketing manager at Kehot Publication Society (publisher of Chabad), and owned a book publishing house called Dwelling Place Publishing.


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22 Responses to “The Search for Objective Journalism”

  1. This is what I’ve been recently asking people: Do you want to be murdered? I don’t. Do you want a man/woman to reproduce with the spouse you love? I don’t. Do you want someone to take material from you that provides for the body’s life? I don’t.

  2. Especially in regard to humans that, at the time, express a dislike of Judaism. Let’s seek as deep as possible.

  3. Israel would be blessed to the heavens if so!

  4. Israel would be blessed to the heavens if so!

  5. May Yah bless the nation of israel*

  6. I want to live in a community like that

  7. Garry are you sure about that name?

  8. No Garry, the messiah has not come yet. Hate to burst your bubble here but that’s the truth.

  9. Ina Ina says:

    mq ybe he will never comes

  10. Shmuli Cohen says:

    A theocratic state. Great that’s just what we need

  11. With respect to the author he is a marketing manage and not a journalist. He misuses the phrases data driven and objective.
    As a 40+ year journalist who is frustrated with the last two generations of journalists, educated in leftie colleges and given no real ethical training in journalism, they are what you’d expect: not objective.
    Columnists are not supposed to be objective. We read them for their experience and viewpoints, their ability to prognosticate or read between the lines and interpret the facts. Be they right, left wrong or indifferent they are columnists not reporters.
    “Truth” is usually interpretative, a Messiah yet to come to. Jews, or one yet to come back to. Christians. But the facts are the facts. And if reported (as opposed to written) accurately in an order not intended to mislead, and with no material facts left out or removed, a reader can draw their own conclusions.
    A Talmudic viewpoint may not in fact present the facts objectively because it is by its nature biased through a Talmudic lens.

  12. Loren Renee says:

    I would not want to live in any kind of theocracy. Wherever there is theocracy there will be oppression of conscience.

  13. Ezra Dew says:

    Grace and Truth Herald!!!

  14. It’s good to dream but to have the guts to be bring it to life is different.
    When we see leaders in Israel trading land for peace that not what He commanded at all

  15. And that is the kind of country I want to live in!! Someday the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of G-D,,as the waters cover the sea.

  16. I would comment – but I see there are a lot of people who do not even understand what the Torah is – including the author of the article, it is extremely sad that the ancient teachings have been lost to the Jewish memory… you don’t even know what is in the Torah – did you know THIS is in the Torah?… and it is only one image of a myriad… (Sifra d’ Itzn-uta tells you some of it but that was from a point long ago in history you should see what we can find today!) P.S. this is found using the Koren text – the Keter is wrong due to the editing done on it in the beginning portions of Bere****h…

  17. Hector Ramos says:

    IT WOULD BLESS ISRAEL…Just like the way God intended Israel to live!! BEAUTIFUL THOUGHT. Let’s make it HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!

  18. Hector Ramos says:

    I LOVE YOUR POST!!!!!!!!!! THE BEST EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111

  19. Not when a certain class thinks they’re superior over another

  20. Not when a certain class thinks they’re superior over another

  21. Gene Strong says:

    I doubt it.would work

  22. Usani Utum says:

    Yes, i believe

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