Call them what you will for it, romantics, perhaps even naive in this regard, but Gramsci and Marx describe the ‘intellectual’ as one who possesses a heightened sense of consciousness – a sense that enables the intellectual to extract or recover reality from a world made purposefully hazy. For these thinkers, the mystical gift of acumen also comes with its burdens. The role of the intellectual is not simply to seek, collect and retain knowledge, but also to unveil and act in relation to these carefully hidden ‘truths’.
To this end, the aspiration of good journalism is not so different. The ethical role of the journalist is often expressed in terms of “reporting the facts”. In this formulation, ‘reporting facts’ is tantamount to ‘good journalism’ when ‘reporting’ is synonymous with ‘truth telling.’
We also know that ‘truth seeking’ maintains a centrality in our everyday experiences, both present in our most ardent and public socio-political concerns as well as our most private existential and interpersonal questions about life. But why does the notion of ‘truth’ matter to us? What purpose does such a concept have and for what reasons should it be retained?