For years journalists have received mixed reviews.
How do you feel about the job they are doing? Are they ethical? Fair? Accurate?
Media mantras like “If it bleeds it leads” and “Cry and you’ll get on camera,” do much to paint the journalist as unethical and obnoxious. In their rush to be first, news outlets are constantly correcting earlier reports. Top reporters Jayson Blair (NY Times), Stephen Glass (The New Republic) and countless others have been caught plagiarizing. Because of these and other breaches of trust, Columbia Journalism Review once reported that people believe that about half of what they read in the press is misleading or inaccurate.
When the founding father’s penned the first amendment to the US Constitution, they gave enormous power to the press to be purveyors of truth. In recent years, the press has been run less by purveyors of truth than by big businessmen. Ted Turner, the founder of the first 24-hours news channel CNN has defined news as “$”. He said if anyone tells you differently they’re lying. He added that if they don’t sell the news, there’s no audience; without an audience, the media out of a job.
There’s an unspoken agreement between the reporter and the reader. The reader agrees to believe the reporter (without this trust there’s no reason to read), and the reporter agrees to be accurate, objective, balanced and fair. One final observation, if a doctor breaks her Hippocratic Oath she will lose her liscence; If a lawyer breaks his client-attorney confidentiality, he will be disbarred; if a journalist lies to get a story he just might win the Pulitzer Prize.