Every newspaper and magazine has a mission statement, which is often clearly identified. Magazines usually describe it in a short paragraph, and newspapers usually rely on a one-liner. This mission statement doubles as a marketing tool to grab new readers who want to know succinctly what the content is generally about, and is also as a policy for contributors. That being said, rejections don't always occur on lack of literary merit, but philosophical orientation.
Traditionally, print media doesn't publish attacks levied upon them. Its perspective is to advocate and embody a certain set of principles which follow its motif. That makes sense on paper, however it has an odor of safety and plasticity due to the confirmation bias involved. Think of all the conflicting stories the news runs nowadays; Fox and MSNBC can air the same exact event, through filter it through different lenses, leaving antithetical "accounts." Is it possible for print, news and radio to allow statements that attack their mission statement, and remain faithful to that mission statement?
One of my friends published a magazine awhile back and received some flack for publishing a writer who completely disagreed with the intellectual tone of that issue. A reader ridiculed him for publishing someone who disagreed with him. Now we're peeling back the layers. Why would simple dis-agreeance merit lack of publication in a magazine geared toward reflected reasoning? Part of individual thought is connecting causes and effects and developing arguments that don't simply conform to existent arguments or motifs. That's not to say that multiple objective arguments about the same thing simply conform to one another, but that an argument which disagrees with them allows others to be exposed to a different perspective. Intellectual understanding is about acknowledging diversity and making an informed choice as to the direction of your values and judgments, open to adaption. Plus, preventing dis-agreeance is unrealistic, since in reality we disagree all the time. Even though my friend's magazine was intellectually based and the news is not, they would benefit from his orientation for this reason.
Are mission statements worthless? Not at all. They provide direction, not constraint. It's so easy to see how ridiculously linear popular news stations are in the implementation of their agendas. This is why they're more propaganda than commentary, because they conform their perspective to affirm their values. My friend's magazine allowed the conflicting perspective, thereby relinquishing value-proselytism. The conflicting perspective wasn't necessarily valid, but was given the opportunity to be judged by the audience, whom are the ones encouraged to think for themselves in the first place. And that is something the news (falsely) asserts; they should thereby follow his lead.
Someone will inevitably critique me with, "Mission statements aren't restrictive, they advocate." Well, doesn't advocacy at least acknowledge it's opponent? To more clearly understand our own perspective, it's beneficial to welcome the presentation of other perspectives, especially in the media. Intelligence involves choice, which involves options. My friend gave his readers the option of agreeing with the very points he disagreed with through publishing an author who disagreed with him. It's a big-picture paradigm. Plus, conflicting perspectives create a forum for people to engage one another to argue more soundly and clearly, not just louder, which often comes wit self-affirming perspectives and propaganda. Again, it's big-picture.
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