This gentleman, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, was a former ambassador to the UN, and a four-term U.S. Senator from New York. His famous quote frames a large part of our discussion around journalism and opinion.
"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts"
Remembering this, it's important to know that Opinion Journalism is a part of the news, but a special subset of it. Using our VIA prism that we showed at the top of this lesson, we set out where Opinon Journalism stands in news.
but then... there are some sets of information that set themselves up to look like opinon pieces, but really fall into the a grey category of things you should be wary of.
The Opinion Journalist is given permission to go beyond gathering factual information.
An Opinion Journalist’s job is to select key facts and assemble an argument…to brandish an opinion. In responsible news organizations, a select few journalists are permitted to do the unthinkable: Arrange and select the facts and evidence in order to support one side or the other.
- Less than 1% of professional journalists are given that license to express opinions.
- They are usually chosen from the cream of the corps of reporters.
- They are supervised from the highest levels of their news organization.
- While they are loyal to journalism’s mission, to inform, they take sides and try to convince readers of one argument.
The theory is this: the whole purpose of journalism is to give you the information you need to make a decision, take action or make a judgment. So, once you have a grip on the facts, opinion journalists expose you to arguments and analysis you may not have come up with on your own. They help you to rehearse your decision…or rehearse your defense of it.