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Is Media Impartiality a Democratic Necessity? Lessons from the Value-Free Ideal in Science

Author:

Selina Swift

Abstract

The value free ideal states that in ‘good’ science, the conclusions scientists reach ought not to depend on their ethical or political values, or else research outcomes could be compromised. Biased science is problematic because science informs many public policies. A parallel can be drawn here between science and journalism. A value free ideal in journalism would state that ‘good’ news is free from any political, social and ethical values that could make a news report biased. The way the news is reported influences public opinion, and as a result, contributes to the construction of public policies. In this paper, I will argue that a working towards a value free ideal in science and in journalism is essential in a democratic society, and that this can be achieved by redefining the value free ideal to mean free from non-epistemic values. Impartiality increases public trust in scientific and media institutions, both of which are essential to a functioning democracy with fair and accurate policies.
How to Cite: Swift, S., 2019. Is Media Impartiality a Democratic Necessity? Lessons from the Value-Free Ideal in Science. Rerum Causae, 11(1), pp.45–56.
Published on 19 Sep 2019.
Peer Reviewed

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