Time to Bury the Corpse
Journalism is dead in America. One can smell the rotting corpse in the plethora of stories news agencies publish -- stories, not articles, that reek of bias, nonexistent sources, and “facts” selected for the sole purpose of deception. There is a reason beyond George Floyd that the Left’s battle cry has become, “I can’t breathe.” The stench of journalism’s decayed remains is enough to choke the life out of the America.
There are moments in one’s life which bring a foreboding sense of doom to come. Moments that, in hindsight, were definitive moments that would forever change the landscape. One such moment, personally, was when the newspaper publisher I worked for decided to accept adverts on the front page. Up to that time, the front page was sacred. The front page was dedicated to the headline news and free of influence outside of journalistic standards (standards which were equally sacred at that time). The fight against ads on the front page was one of the toughest battles I fought in my tenure as managing editor, but one I ultimately lost. With every ad that followed on the front page, journalistic integrity died a little more.
For those who have never worked in journalism, it may be difficult to grasp how running an ad on the front page compromised journalistic integrity, so allow me to explain. The front page was free of ads to eliminate any influence on the news content. It was the one page that publishers and sales representatives could tell advertisers, “I have no control over what goes on the front page.” Not a day went by in which calls were not received by advertisers to influence content, either by attempting to suppress an article of an employee being arrested or strongarming the page on which they wanted their ad. While journalists cared little about advertisers and their demands, the ad revenues are what paid salaries. Keeping the front-page untouchable protected it from outside influences also protected publishers and sales representatives from outside pressure to influence news content for revenue.
It took less than two months for the slippery slope of front-page ad sales to become an avalanche that rolled over journalistic integrity like a boulder. Publishers and sales representatives, who were charging a premium for the front-page ad space, began to cave to editorial dictates of advertisers who had the money for the prime space. Journalists and editors would lay out front pages only to have the content rearranged, altered, or replaced before printing, all at the behest of, or with the goal of, appeasing the advertisers able to pay the quadruple price of front-page advertising. Journalistic integrity would never be the primary goal again in newsrooms. Journalism became a prostitute sold to the highest bidder.
With the final holdout -- the front page -- gone, journalism declined to a death-rattle within a few years. If advertisers could influence content, “journalists” decided they could, too. Some, no doubt, even did so on behalf of other people, groups, and politicians, gaining influence, favors, or money in the process. The result was the death of journalism, a field that once put the public ahead of profit, integrity ahead of personal gain, truth ahead of deception. Now, most news stories are just that: stories with more slant than fact, more fiction than verifiable truth. Facts, when they are even included, are cherry-picked to further a narrative personally or professionally or monetarily beneficial to the “journalist” or the news organization. Most journalists are puppets with hidden masters pulling their strings. Journalists who do possess integrity and attempt to adhere to time-honored journalist standards typically find themselves bullied and forced out of most newsrooms.
Journalism died years ago, not long after publishers sold the soul of the front page for a few dollars. “Journalists” now violate virtually every previous standard and principle once held dear. From anonymous sources who may or not exist, to outright deceptive coverage, journalists’ goals are now self-serving and focused only on the goals determined by the masters who control them. In their hasty pursuit of money, influence, and power, they never bothered to bury the body. As a result, journalism’s rotting corpse has filled America with a breath-stealing stench that leaves the public gagging for air. It is time, for the sake of the country, to bury journalism’s corpse. Denial serves no purpose. We can grieve its death, but we must get rid of the body for the health of the country.