Thursday, 5 May 2005
|0930 - Journalists: I'm not alone|
Today's Minneapolis Star-Tribune is running a story about how journalists are more ethical than nearly all other professions, but that the average person doesn't believe them. An accompanying poll bears this out among their online readers. As I write this, the poll shows 60% replying "no way" to the question "do you trust journalists?", while 13% replied "Yes, absolutely".
The field of journalism has a serious credibility gap, and yet its members are too busy protesting and listening to each other about how important they are to notice. I don't have specific plans for a fix, but a lessening of journalists' Woodstein complex - "We're the only trustworthy watchdogs society has, and we have moral rights that transcend anything else so we can do that job!" - would help immensely.
current mood: vindicated
I dont like the answers they have chosen for us. I think the majority of people trust some, but not all journalists. That is not an option though, its either all or nothing. The big organization/small organization doesnt make any sense either since both can be biased just as easily. Conclusion: I dont trust polls :)
That's certainly the problem. I think people don't absolutely trust "the media", but they certainly tend to have their own mainstream publications that they do trust, and using ones that have delegitimized themselves to drag down the whole profession is a little absurd.
There is a need for accountability in journalism, and a healthy skepticism as well as competition in the industry will help maintain that. Unfortunately, while the competition in the industry is certainly there right now and it at least helps overcome gaps left by individual journalists and publications, I think the average American's level of skepticism is unhealthy, and that they tend to automatically discount anything on the basis that they "disagree" with it, without considering more important things like whether it's true or not.
My husband works in the entertainment industry and he often finds himself working with the nightly news shows. Through that I've seen both the good and the bad when it comes to journalists and their integrity.
For years, I worked for a cryobiology/endocrinology laboratory. My experiences with the media there - being lied to, having our footage used as background for a negative piece on another lab - gave me a very very sour outlook when it comes to journalism that even all of my husband's good experiences will have a hard time getting rid of.
Of course it doesn't help that there are lapdogs of various interests posing as journalists, and also journalist accused of being lapdogs because they happen to talk about things the accuser doesn't want to hear about.
A recent set of letters in the New York Times was an interesting illustration of this: some accused the Times of having a pro-Israel bias, some accused the Times of having a pro-Palestinian bias (though, some letters even attacked this term, saying there is no such thing as Palestine). And then of course there were letters accusing the Times of being addicted to the middle east and wondering why there weren't more articles about places like Sudan. Not that even that is relegated to the Times; most media seems enamored with the Middle East and to ignore Sudan.
I will start trusting journalists again when they...
1 - Stop doing reports on Michael Jackson, runaway brides, and other bullshit that really would never affect anyone other than the victims (if there was some kind of injustice, then they totally should report it... but Michael Jackson's victims shouldn't have to deal with a circus.)
2 - Stop using theme music and special effects. I swear to G-D that they use more computer generated graphics than most hollywood blockbusters!! GAHH!!!
3 - They stop acting like they are my friend, and laughing or crying about everything... they are news reporters. They are buried in that crap all day, and after a few years they really can hear it and keep a level head.
4 - They stop going from murders, child molestations, to happy crap and jokes that aren't even news.
5 - MOST IMPORTANT - They stop treating everyone who does the bare minimum that is demanded by our morals, as heros. If someone is dying, you aren't a hero for calling the police - if someone is dying and you don't call the police, you are a ****ing monster. Also, the flipside, is to treat every derranged psychopath like they are demonic superstars... it only encourages them, and every moral relativist / consequentialist (especially those who eat meat) are capable of monsterous atrocities under SOME circumstance. And I mean, who wants to encourage that and glorify it? Oh wait... I suppose they do.