The News Media: A Hazardous Product With No Warning Label
To be most useful, information must be accurate, straight and uncolored. This applies to news reporting as well as to any other form of communication involving the transfer of information, whether it be street directions, how to assemble a knocked-down product, programming a computer, or what-have-you. But with news channels owned by or beholden to corporate media moguls, the information gets to the recipients through filters that lead the public to sponsor-endorsed conclusions and choices. Such doctored information in the news creates a public whose “public opinion” is in fact corporate opinion. This is a corruption of the “democratic process” big time.
Reporting is so bollixed up with comment that it’s hard to distinguish between what is happening and what is being said about what is happening. A large percent of sentences that issue from the mouths of TV anchors contain inferences that don’t even follow from the presented facts. With disturbing regularity I have found myself asking, “Where did he (she) get that from?” The answer is, straight from the editors’ bias. You can bet that they read the doctored script to remain on the payroll.
I wonder how many journalists who start off with a genuine desire to inform their readers/viewers about what is happening in the world end up with the job to reform them? The rare ones who enter journalism not for fun or mission-to-change-the-world, but to convey honest, accurate accounts of events, free of personal or editorial bias, face a difficult, uphill fight to remain objective reporters and must ultimately decide to switch careers or give up journalism.
Even getting past the hurdle of finding a news outlet that allows such independence, a feat not hard to accomplish in the past, how long can a dedicated recruit remain detached from partisan politics and give the audience unadulterated, straightforward information? Can honest and independent journalists remain detached and neutral as they advance to “more responsible” positions? How many continue to refuse to bend to the “frightful engine” – as Charles Dickens once characterized the American press – with “its evil eye in every house”? How many succeed in resisting the big buck or the personal crusade? How many, shielded by the First Amendment and calling what they do “investigative reporting,” manage to control their appetite for spying, prying, meddling, and interfering with justice?
In their self-appointed role of watchdogs, mainstream news reporters justify in their own mind the scooping of sensitive information that jeopardizes even military operations, endangering lives, thwarting justice, and ruining reputations, while they rail at those hurt for trying to defend themselves against media attacks – as though invading privacy and spinning the news to suit corporate interests aren’t sufficient indictments against their activity.
Ethical standards in journalism – such as accuracy, independence, impartiality, accountability and forbearance of vindictiveness – are in very short supply, which is the opposite of what is needed to maintain an informed citizenry and a functioning society. Is it asking too much of news reporters to consider the adverse consequences to the public of their statements?
It strikes me as the height of arrogance and hypocrisy for a body that is not elected by the people and accountable to no one except its sponsors to pose as the “watchdog of the people” or “champion of democracy.”
Watchdogs or pit bulls?
You will find no warning label on a media product, even in tiny print, that says: “What you are about to read or hear or see may be false or misleading. Discretion advised.” You must provide that warning yourself or risk getting swept in a tide of “public opinion” that turns “democracy” into dictatorship of the elite.
Graphic credit: author
Anthony J. DeBlasi is a veteran and lifelong defender of Western culture.