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‘Journalism of neutrality is an illusion’ and inadequate to democracy, says professor

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If journalism’s role is to help people be meaningful participants in a democratic society then journalism has to take on important questions in the prophetic voice, author and professor Dr. Robert Jensen told Raw Story.

“I think the journalism of neutrality is an illusion and I think the journalism that that has produced has been inadequate to democracy,” said Jensen, one of conservative David Horowitz’s 101 most dangerous academics.

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The journalism professor’s latest book “All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice” is a departure for the long-time social justice activist, because his outlook has shifted dramatically as he has joined a community of faith. This move, described in detail in the book, was a surprise to his readers and former students, as he has shown indifference to religion over two decades of work against war, racism and patriarchy.

Asked what he means by the prophetic voice at his office inside the University of Texas at Austin communications building, Jensen explained.

“If the prophets were people in society who called out injustice, who reminded people of the gap between their ideals and their actions, if the prophets were folks who were willing to speak the truth and hold people accountable, that’s very similar to the job description of modern journalism,” he said.

“Modern journalism, however, is often constrained by illusory notions of neutrality and objectivity and I think if journalists thought of themselves as speaking prophetically it could produce a much more engaged and quite frankly, much more important journalism.”

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In “All My Bones Shake,” his sixth book, Dr. Jensen writes about truth in terms of chaos and clarity:

Whatever we might think is “the perfect,” it is not with us here. We live in the imperfect; we struggle with the chaotic. We usually think of our rational faculties as providing us with the ability to deal with the chaos of truth, to provide the order we need to live in a complex world. Conversely, our emotions are seen as a source of even greater chaos, an aspect of ourselves that is generally out of control. I want to argue just the opposite: The chaos of truth is a product of the rational, and whatever clarity of truth we can achieve is produced not in our minds but in our hearts.

Coupled with the specter of a crumbling newspaper industry, Jensen’s ideas have led him to begin rethinking the approach of the modern academy toward journalism instruction. Last year, he proposed a new mission statement to his faculty colleagues at UT-Austin last fall.

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He argued that by stating bluntly the nature of the crises we face in today’s world and breaking with our longstanding subordination to the industry, professors could offer an exciting alternative to students who don’t want to repeat the failures of the previous generation.

Only a handful were willing to endorse such a mission.

“In a way I think the failure of the corporate commercial business model is not just a tragedy, it’s also an opportunity to recognize that the journalism produced out of that corporate commercial model has never really served the democratic ideals of the society,” he told Raw Story. “The most painful example of this, of course, is the run-up to the Iraq War, where dozens, probably hundreds, of journalists were covering the Bush administration and Congress as that war unfolded, and yet none of that journalism helped inform the public in a meaningful way.”

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He demolished media myths about war, propaganda and militarism in his third book “Citizens of the Empire” in 2004.

“Obviously journalism as an industry is in free fall,” he said, his desk buried in texts. “The business model of corporate commercial news is crumbling around us. There’s no obvious model to replace it in a society that is hesitant to supply public support for much of anything. So in this failure in the business model, we also have the possibility of something coming out of that that’s potentially much more productive.”

This audio is from RAW STORY’s Gavin Dahl, uploaded May 9, 2010.

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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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