Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Great Myth


Jay Nelson Tuck, Reporter at the New 
York Post | Photographer: TuckJay |
Date: (1950s) | Permission is granted to 
copy, distribute and/or modify this 
document/picture under the terms of the 
GNU Free Documentation License.
When thinking of the news, most of us picture images of the completely objective mild mannered reporter being fueled by coffee & cigarettes, well into the night, in order to polish their undistorted article, which tells "both sides" of the story, in time to make the morning edition.  If this image was ever an accurate depiction of reality, it is now a popular myth, to be filed alongside the likes of John Henry, Paul Bunyon, and Casey Jones.

Yet, I'm not convinced this archetype's inclusion to the realm of mythology is necessarily a negative thing.  By my way of thinking, many stories make it impossible to lend equal credibility to both sides without ignoring or perverting the facts.

In 1939, a completely unbiased headline would've read, "Germans And Poles Struggle To Settle Territorial Dispute."  When Amanda Berry, Georgina "Gina" DeJesus, and Michelle Knight were rescued after a decade of captivity, the impartial headline, "Ariel Castro's Dependents Leave Shared House After 10 Years," would have been grossly deceptive as well. 

Facts shape honestly written stories towards the truth.  No honest reporter would've ignored the brutality of Germany's invasion of Poland, nor would they refer to the Castro household as "a family," dysfunctional or otherwise.  Honest reporting requires presentation of the facts, and allowing the truth to prevail.

Within the media jungle, there DO exist certain outlets which purposely skew stories in order to promote their ideological stance.  While these outlets can be confused for fact driven purveyors  of truth, one can tell the difference simply by examining their record on the facts.  If a media outlet/reporter has a record of saying things such as, " Senator Barack Obama had attended a 'Muslim seminary' as a child in Indonesia," "The Obama administration shut down the Amber Alert program because of the government shutdown," or gave credence to the idea, "If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing (fertilization) down," they're probably not a credible news source.

Propaganda machines aside though, my point is that there's no such thing as purely objective news.  This is OK though, as long as;
  • The news source in question honestly reports the facts,
  • The source's spin/conclusion is based on those facts,
  • And the news reader/viewer is aware of the source's leanings.

No comments:

Post a Comment