ANATOMY OF AN ENDLESS MISUNDERSTANDING
Since the nineteenth century, the theory of objectivity has pervasively influenced the professional practice ofjournalism and has been considered a cornerstone principle. However, during the last decades of the twentieth century, communication scholars began to contest increasingly the mainnotions embedded in it. As some scholars have shown, no other concept has stimulated as much controversy as the concept of objectivity, among scholars and practitioners alike, and insideand outside the profession of journalism. But, unfortunately, most debates about it have proved to be, not only endless, but inconclusive. Interestingly enough, in spite of the manyfrequent statements by scholars and journalists, who have been repeating throughout many years that the paradigm of objectivity is exhausted, when it comes to setting up professionalcriteria to be defended in public, this concept inevitably appears, implicitly most of the times, once and again, thus showing that it still remains firmly entrenched.
As atheoretical contribution, this paper digs deep into the philosophical underpinnings of the theory of objectivity, namely, its positivist presumptions stemming from the empiricist tradition.More specifically, I have attempted to argue that: (i) objectivity is not only an impossible ideal, but rather an ill-conceived question, based upon the mistaken premises of positivism;(ii) the concept of objectivity has partly managed to replace a more fundamental one, that of truth, thus becoming confusing and fallacious; (iii) a new paradigm, based upon a majorrethinking of the conception of truth, understood in the light of the premises of classic realism, should urgently replace the exhausted old one, in order to remedy its shortcomings.