Tag Archive for Integrity

Remember when journalists could be trusted?

I grew up the daughter of a hard-nosed newspaper reporter who valued the truth above all. He could cover an issue he felt passionately about and leave his own feelings at the door. He had integrity.

I remember when Walter Cronkite was the nation’s most trusted man. He reported the news and nothing more, until he saw what a travesty the Vietnam War had become and felt compelled to speak out. I was disappointed, even though I agreed with him.

Opinion is why newspapers have editorial pages, and that is where opinion used to be confined.

But in recent years, opinion has crept more and more into the news, with Fox leading the way and MSNBC answering. That wouldn’t be such a problem if people got their news from more than one source. As much as I like Rachel Maddow, she is not my only source of information.

Even the New York Times can’t be trusted anymore. Remember its role as a cheerleader in the run-up to the Iraq War?

There is precious little left of the unbiased media. Someone cited liberal bias to me because a survey of Washington, DC, journalists done in 1992 showed more of them voted for Bill Clinton that the elder George Bush.

First of all, we don’t use 20-year-old data. Second, you can hold your personal opinions and still be fair.

I have covered issues like abortion and been called fair by both sides.

However, the media does make one huge mistake these days, and that is validating information that is just plain wrong by tring to tell both “sides” of a story.

You wouldn’t expect to see someone saying tobacco is safe in a story about thye damages smoking and “dipping” do.

No one would say the Earth is flat in a story about geology.

Few people believe that psychiatric illness is caused by demons, and no reporter would think he or she has to quote someone who does believe that.

The fact is that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are losing ground, and it’s because we keep cutting taxes for the wealthy and for corporations and making up for lost money by taking services from the poor and shipping jobs overseas, villifying those who receive unemployment benefits as lazy and turning away the sick because they don’t have insurance.

The wealthy conservatives get away with it because the media continues to give validity to the lies and disinformation, and if someone doesn’t, they’re attacked as biased.

When the Harvard Medical School study that found 45,000 Americans die prematurely each year because they don’t have insurance was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,  I offered a copy of the study to my local paper. The editor told me there wasn’t enough staff to cover a national story like this and the paper would rely on The Associated Press to cover it.

Well, the AP didn’t do a story. In fact, when I searched the Web for any mention of the study in the media, I found only two mentions: one in the Boston Globe Harvard is in Boston) and one in the Sacramento Bee.

It was Keith Olbermann who covered the story. Ed Shultz grabbed onto it like a pit bull and didn’t let go. Eventually, the story was mentioned in other media, but it was downplayed.

That’s just one example. Remember the Downing Street Memo that proved George W. Bush was tweaking the evidence to gain public support for his illegal war in Iraq? For months, the only place I heard about it was on Al Franken’s radio show.

We can’t trust big media anymore. Not Fox News, not even the New York Times. They’re withholding important information that Americans need to know and perpetuating the lies of the right.

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