Can journalism still be an honorable field?

What do Russian collusion, Hunter Biden's laptop, and COVID-19 vaccine mandates all have in common?  They are all misinformation spread by the American propaganda media.

The very young often fantasize that they will perform some great accomplishment that benefits humankind when they get older.

A field that offers that kind of personal reward is journalism, having over 6,500 individuals employed in the United States.  Many enter journalism knowing that the financial rewards may not be as attractive as other vocations, but the impact on society can be significant.  The First Amendment protects the freedom of the press and bestows a limited right not to be forced to reveal information or confidential news sources in court.

Like any occupation, there are good and bad players.

A police officer who takes a bribe is often referred to as a "dirty cop."  A journalist who hides the truth is just as tainted.

Some may assume that contaminated journalists aren't as bad as flawed law enforcement officials or corrupt politicians.  Sure, they may lie about the facts or put a spin on a story, but they don't physically attack anybody; they're not "real" criminals.

And there may be some truth there; they don't break the legs of the opposition.  But to suggest that they don't cause the same level of harm is false. 

Immoral journalists may not steal money, but they ransack the livelihoods, health, and trust of people they slander or mislead.

They can be more harmful to the community they are supposed to serve because of the size and scope of the injury they can produce.

A journalist who lies about the facts or refuses to report on an important story for political or financial reasons is not at all different from the crooked cop taking a bribe when looking the other way.

A pistol and a pen are tools as good or bad as the person behind the instrument.  And many more lives can be lost by what is produced by the tip of a pen than are fallen with the end of a bullet.

Journalism is an extraordinary calling.  And anyone courageous enough to enter that field is taking on an enormous responsibility.  But honesty may hinder an ethical journalist trying to break in or remain in the field.

In the end, a dirty journalist stands for nothing and hurts everyone.  They betray the profession, but more importantly, they embarrass and fail themselves.

Rick Hayes is an award-winning New York City-based writer with 20+ years of experience within the major news industry.  He holds a B.S. degree from St. John's University.

Image: Pixabay.

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