IWM asserts that its funders do not influence the way its subject is presented to the public. “Our policy is to be unbiased,” Diane Lees, Director-General, wrote to me.
If this was true and IWM had editorial independence, then this would make the issue of accepting money from arms traders more ambivalent. Whilst the arms trader funders are immoral, brutal and exploitative, if IWM is able to turn this bad money ‘good’ through rigorous and brave independent work, critically examining British involvement in conflict, then, in this time of cuts and funding shortages, there might be an argument to suggest that the net effect is positive.
But being unbiased is nigh on impossible. All news, however accurate, is subjective – after all, a subjective choice is made as to which facts to include and what to leave out, seeing as including every item of fact and evidence is an impossiblity. That’s not mentioning the subjective choice of how to present the facts that are included.
Just because news reporting is subjective does not mean that no truth exists. An honest news reporter will cast their net as wide as possible for relevant facts and evidence, select what they consider to be the most relevant and rigorously examine the validity of these. Basically, it is akin to a scientific inquiry.