Over many years, I have watched this evolution in journalism with frustration. Night after night I have cursed the television or the newspaper because journalists will not ask the hard questions I need answered. Even worse, they stack the deck with like-minded people and clearly take sides, especially on political issues. Because of this, I’ve canceled my local paper, and turned to Fox News and the internet to find balance and answers to my questions.
Journalists attempt to tell me what to think, instead of giving me the facts so that I can make my own decisions. They cloud the issues by inserting their personal biases. At the same time, they have the bald-faced audacity to pretend they are balanced. What a lie! They have become zealous missionaries.
Journalists are expected to follow an ethical code, so I searched the internet to see what these codes recommend. They vary somewhat from school to school and newsroom to newsroom. Regardless of the guidelines, today’s journalists simply are not following their own ethical standards. See these Ethics Codes and decide for yourself.
What did surprise me was to discover there is actually a term used in journalism schools that describes the evolution of news reporting we are experiencing today. They call this madness civic, public, or community journalism.
In The Ethics of Civic Journalism: Independence as the Guide, Bob Steele describes public journalism as follows:
Some advocates of public journalism believe that news organizations move from traditional standards of objectivity to play a more activist role in community activities, affairs, and issues. Roy Clark says public journalism asks us, on occasion, to step across the traditional line of journalistic independence--to go across the line that takes us from observers and reporters to convenors and builders. The Newspaper as Problem Solver.To be fair, not every journalist agrees with the concept of public journalism. For example, in the same article:
Jane Eisner, editorial page editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, says it's true that public journalism may have a good ring for many journalists, touching their chord of idealism and their desire to "make the world a slightly better place." But, Eisner suggests, "owning part of the public stage comes with a price. Our central mission," Eisner believes, "is to report the news, to set priorities, to analyze but not to shape or direct events or outcomes. Subsume or diminish the central mission, and we become like any other player in society, like any other politician, interest group, do-gooder, thief."And thieves of the truth they have become! Time for a wake-up call.
The American people are not fools. We recognize partisan journalists when we see them, and we will fight them as we would any political opponent, because that is exactly what they have become. If they do not give up their advocacy, they will go the way of the dinosaurs by the time we're done with them.
Let the battle begin. Please join Operation: Can You Hear Us Now?