One of my facebook friends asks:
What is journalism if TRUTH has no meaning? Or if the TRUTH is suppressed by threats from the state…
The question is in response to yet another dust up between the White House and a member of the media.
A good question, and one I have an answer too, unfortunately facebook is not made for lengthy discussions and my response wouldn’t post in the comments…
So here it is:
First, the state is incapable of suppressing the media, especially in this day and age. This is pretty evident by the very story linked in the question. The state (may have) threatened, and it promptly got reported in a bunch of different outlets and is probably on youtube too.
The bullying and threatening of the reporters won’t work either…they may get away with banning one or two, but eventually nobody would be willing to report for/on them, and frankly, they need us to report on them as bad as we need something to report on.
The other question…about truth and the media…is the interesting one…
The short of it is, why would anybody assume the truth has any place in the media, as such?
I’ve been in the business a long time, and have seen a lot. We care about what we do, and usually we do it well…
But once again, an educated public is the key…and unfortunately it’s a key we as a nation are failing to produce.
Why an educated public? Simply because, while we ARE doing *it* well, we’re not doing quite what the average public thinks we are doing.
Truth is not the agenda, and if you recognize that, the media makes perfect sense and becomes a powerful tool in understanding the world.
If you take an educated close look at current media, and then a similar look at the history of media and journalism in particular, you find that every part of it…EVERY segment, from the intern, reporter, editor to the company that owns the outlet and their stockholders…even down to the stores that sell their products…EVERY single part of it has an agenda, and it is not the truth.
Let me repeat that…the truth, is NOT the agenda.
It’s always been this way. This would be okay with an educated public, as often segments of the media have conflicting methods to achieve their agenda and as a result the truth does get reported. It’s just not always on the surface. It is out there to be mined.
Critical thinking and basic knowledge and research skills are the tools to dig it out.
The problem is not with the media, it’s with the publics increasingly reactionary and shallow perception of the event reporting around them.
Understanding this is the difference between using the media to understand the world, or being manipulated by the media to help shape it.
An uneducated public is putty in their hands, reacting VERY predictably and exactly as they require.
And the agenda?
Make no mistake. The agenda is money. Plain and simple.
Learn, watch, and read wisely my friends.