Sunday, November 1, 2009

Missionary Media Muddy The News

Where, oh where, have the journalists of old gone? Once upon a time, we could read our favorite paper or watch the nightly news, and come away from the news with the information we needed to discuss and debate the issues with our friends, families and coworkers. Those lively conversations often led to brainstorming about ways we as individual citizens, or as groups, could help to solve the problems of the day. At that time, the issues alone were the topics of discussion. Today, the media has become the issue, and muddied the flow of information with its partisan advocacy.

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?


  1. We need to terminate the minimum wage and let free market competition set wages .

  2. You assert that journalist are expected to follow an ethical code. Are bloggers journalists? Shuold I expect you to be inbiased and just present the facts? When you tell me they are "thieves of truth" are you just laying out the facts for telling me what to believe, if not in plain speeeking then by innuendo?

  3. Good question, Lloyd. Bloggers are by most people's definition, opinion commentators, which is similar to commentary you'll find on the editorial page of a newspaper, and I'm in that category. I don't claim to be an objective journalist.

    Most if not all journalists who work for the major networks and newspapers have a degree in journalism. As part of their training, they are expected to follow a code of ethics as defined by the university departments that trained them as well as their employers.

    What makes their news coverage so egregious at times is that they actually claim they are unbiased, that they are purely objective, while at the same time pushing an agenda that is anything but objective.

    American journalists seem to be the worst at this kind of disingenuousness. Frankly, I don't know if they are just kidding themselves, or if they think the American public can't see through their agenda.

    I would welcome some candid honesty from reporters and news anchors. If they openly admitted their political bent, the public would have less to complain about because then we would be better able to "consider the source" of the news being reported to us.

  4. Wow! Couldn't believe my eyes when I watched this video clip of Scott Wolf in 'V' who plays a compromised journalist. A recognition of the problem?

    ‘V’ Sci-Fi Star Compares Journalist-Mouthpiece for Evil Aliens to Anderson Cooper

  5. PBS Apologizes for Sesame Street 'Pox News' Skit

  6. We need to terminate the minimum wage and let free market competition set wages .