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Attention, ‘Serial’ fans: is objectivity important in law and journalism?

PBS Idea Channel tackles this question

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Host Mike Rugnetta devoted two episodes of the PBS Digital Studios YouTube series to discussing issues of objectivity in law and objectivity in journalism, all in relation to “Serial,” which many have billed as the most successful podcast of all time.

Note: If you haven’t listened to all 12 episodes of the podcast, these videos may not be for you. Also, what are you waiting for?!

Rugnetta discusses the potentially confusing issue of objectivity through his signature quick-witted but long-winded style: “Serial’s driving force is generated when the familiar ‘overturning the wrongful conviction of a charming character’ narrative meets the real and actual conflicting accounts of experts and eyewitnesses, both on the show and after-the-fact, as to the quality, completeness or plausibility of evidence.” Whew.

Spoiler alert: The central conclusion of both Idea Channel episodes is that, when it comes to both law and journalism, true objectivity doesn’t exist. Rugnetta goes deep in explaining these issues, using the show’s GIF-heavy graphics to illustrate his complex points, like the difference between transparency and objectivity.

While the above paragraph may have spoiled the ending of the Idea Channel episodes, it barely touched the breadth of the issue as discussed by Rugnetta. Get the full scope of his ideas here and here.

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