On yesterday's installment of WGBH's Beat The Press, journalist Emily Rooney complained that media coverage of Boston 2024, the group trying to bring the Olympics to the city that year, has been too negative. Rooney went so far as to say she has been "horrified" by the coverage, which she blamed on "cynicism." "There's nothing [like] the combination of being extremely wealthy, extremely handsome, and extremely successful to make you the target, especially of the Boston media," Rooney said. She ended the segment by saying, "I'd just like to see a little more balance."
Setting aside the dispute over whether there really has been more negative coverage of Boston 2024 than positive, Rooney's complaints show what's wrong with the notion of media "objectivity," where journalists achieve "balance" by acting like every dispute is a he said, she said involving two equally credible sides.
Good journalism isn't about being one part PR flak for A and one part PR flak for B, it's about seeking the truth and educating your audience. No one is entitled to positive media coverage. A news organization can run a story about how Boston 2024 falsely claimed that they talked with the owners of property they hoped to build on without creating an ethical obligation to run a story on how handsome they think John Fish is.
Boston 2024 is a wildly unpopular, secretive, anti-democratic organization made up of political insiders that is trying to use tax dollars and other public resources to host a private, made-for-TV sporting event. That's the ugly truth and, given that it is the truth, they should expect Olympic levels of negative coverage.