Tag: Journalistic Ethics

Truth Cries Out

 

Walking through downtown Mesa, AZ, the Monday after the Mueller report news broke, one of the public art statues leaped out at me. A newsboy stands astride his stack of newspapers, waving a copy over his head and shouting out the news. The front page has a one-word headline, all caps and bold: “TRUTH.” What a contrast to the sordid state of our current “journalism.”

The background is littered with paint cans and construction barriers. This is part of a facade renovation for downtown Main Street. How much more does our news business need renovation?

Walking by the same spot a few hours later, the facade work was done. Yet, there was no change in the businesses behind the facade. This was no reality television business makeover, with retrained staffs and refreshed concepts.

Journalism at Hillsdale College: It’s a Start

 

In a piece I wrote a few weeks ago, we were lamenting the sad state of journalism, how it has reached a new level of bias and corruption. Many of us commented that we needed a journalism program that teaches participants the ethics of, and appropriate approach to, media reporting, and we wondered where a person might go to get a well-rounded and balanced approach. I’ve discovered one solution: Hillsdale College.

Admirably, I think, Hillsdale grounds its journalism program in “doing journalism.” It describes its program to prospective students in this way:

Learn journalism by actually doing journalism. Our Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism is devoted to the restoration of ethical, high-minded journalism standards and is home to two media outlets: The Collegian, our award-winning newspaper, and WRFH 101.7FM. You’ll get an extensive experience in print and broadcast journalism, as well as opportunities to lead your peers. When you combine your traditional academic major and core liberal arts background with journalism, you’ll get the training you need to think critically and communicate effectively to broad audiences. Hillsdale journalism alumni have continued on to careers at the Wall Street Journal, Fox News, ESPN, National Review, Daily Beast, Nashville Public Radio, and many more. Journalism is offered as a minor only.

The Sad State of Journalism

 

“Among the many firsts, last year’s election gave us the gobsmacking revelation that most of the mainstream media puts both thumbs on the scale—that most of what you read, watch, and listen to is distorted by intentional bias and hostility. I have never seen anything like it. Not even close.”

So said Michael Goodwin, the chief political columnist for the New York Post during a presentation at Hillsdale College. The speech was adapted for the Imprimis publication, June 2017. I think his comment reflects the attitude of many conservatives. I believe that many of his observations describe this newest wave of fake news, distortions and biases demonstrated by the national press.

One of his first comments suggested at least one origin for sensational and glamorous journalism: Watergate. He says,

Member Post

 

The St Paul Pioneer Press used to be the moderate alternative to the far-left Minneapolis Tribune.  But these days there is nothing moderate about its dishonesty.  This is from an article on the front page of a free copy of the paper I got at our hotel.  It is headlined: South St Paul reels in […]

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Journalism and Non-Literal Communication

 

Pseud’s recent post about Sharyl Attkisson fact-checking Trump’s passing remarks about McCain raises an interesting dilemma for journalists. How do you report on non-literal statements?

As I said in my comment there, I believe Trump was clearly being sarcastic when he said, ”[McCain] is a war hero because he was captured.” The implication, as evidenced by surrounding remarks, was that McCain is not a war hero because accidental suffering does not make one a hero. (That’s not to say Trump is correct or that he shouldn’t have followed the comment by acknowledging that McCain served with honor, at least. But that’s a discussion for other threads.)