Here’s a note to the media: If you get it right, you do not have to worry about accusations of being fake news. It’s pretty simple.
When I was growing up and journalism was a somewhat legitimate profession, there were always three questions reporters needed to answer before publication. Was the story true? Was the story accurate? Did the story hurt someone?
The true and accurate questions split hairs but are vital. For example, I tell my son no talking on the cell phone after midnight. As I pass his room at 12:30 am I hear his phone ring.. The next morning I reprimand him for talking on the phone after midnight. He tells me he was not talking on the phone.
I say “I heard your phone ring at 12:30.” He responds “My phone rang but it was a wrong number.”
It is true that his phone rang after midnight and he answered it only to learn it was a wrong number. It is not accurate that he talked on the phone after midnight.
Now half of you will say “But he actually did talk on the phone after midnight when he answered it” Congratulations, there is a career for you in law. It is not accurate because the actual meaning of my rule was that he not converse with friends on his cell phone after midnight.
A good journalist is overly accurate in the story and does not mislead through implication or innuendo. There is no room for “the meaning of is” in journalism. However, thanks to President Bill Clinton, the ability to sparse words is now forever in our lexicon.
Anyone who has ever relayed a story to anyone knows how to include or omit certain information to drive home a point or slant the emotion. Why are journalists any different?
The final question: “Does it hurt someone” is a far harder question to handle. If I am reporting on someone accused of rape or murder do I care if that lawbreaker is hurt? Well, that depends if he or she is accused or proven to be the rapist or killer. But who am I to pass judgement on another human being?
Most journalists are Liberal. This is a known fact and proven throughout the past presidential campaign for anyone who ever doubted it. Most Liberals believe they know best; they are progressive thinkers and better informed than their Neanderthal counterparts on the Conservative side. They have no problem casting judgment on others while lecturing them not to cast judgment on certain groups.
Do you see the hypocrisy?
I prefer my news to be as objective as possible. From my earlier example, referring to the person as a rapist or killer is subjective. But, writing or saying the person was convicted of rape or murder is objective.
Somewhere along the lines from Watergate to today’s opinion led journalism, reporters lost sight of being true, accurate and objective. Look no further than the recent spate of news outlets having to retract stories or apologize for inaccuracies.
Their insatiable lust to “get President Trump” is backfiring in a big way. They are losing credibility but it’s obvious most are still tone deaf as witnessed Sarah Huckabee Sanders exchange with a reporter named Brian Karem. His whining rant about inflammatory speech is laughable because the media is the guiltiest provocateur.
It’s a fine line between truth and fiction in politics but the public can only hope these reporters can walk that fine line. Is it any wonder, we are all disillusioned when we see incontrovertible evidence that reporters are biased and focused on bringing down President Trump.
And that is the most important fine line. Rather than look to bring down the president why not cover the news accurately and let the facts do the work. Then no one has any wiggle room to escape because “a lie can change, but the truth never will.”