Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cynic, vs. skeptic

SILVER SPRING, MD - MAY 6: Ted Koppel (C) host...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

First, here is a poll:

Cynic: (n) A person who believes all people are motivated by selfishness.

Skeptic: (n) One who instinctively or habitually doubts, questions, or disagrees with assertions or generally accepted conclusions.

Given the two definitions here (which are both from, you can check yourself), which would you prefer a news reporter to be? A cynic? or a skeptic?

I am sure most of you would prefer skeptic, as a news reporter is supposed to be neutral, and should have no "beliefs" when it comes to reporting the news.

However, both of the following quotes are attributed to the Ted Koppel, formerly of ABC News, now working for NPR:

My function is, as objectively and accurately as I can, to present reality to people out there, and doing that as quickly as we do is quite difficult enough, thank you. -- Ted Koppel

My level of cynicism about the reasons that took us to war against Iraq remain just as well-developed as they were before I went. -- Ted Koppel

(both from

If the quotes are accurate, and not taken out of context (and it's pretty hard to imagine how these complete quotes CAN be taken out of context), it means that he had always reported about the Iraq war with preconceptions, even when he promised to report objectively.

And it is interesting to note that both ABC and NPR are often accused of being too liberal. However, it is quite rare for a news reporter and news anchor to admit his own bias, isn't it?

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