May This News Media Employ a Moral Liability?

Much has been said recently about the increasingly irresponsible news media. For anyone people who remember Walter Cronkite, we’re amazed by the sleazy depths to which our news media can go nowadays. Their present fascination with Anna Nichole Smith’s death perfectly illustrates those depths.

It is commonly speculated that the drive for increasing profits by the corporate owners of the news headlines outlets, alongside fierce and unanticipated competition from the cable channels and Internet blogs have motivated a fresh focus upon the lurid. I might add the media consultants who insist that attractive to the best common denominator, not hard news, brings and keeps viewers or readers. Notwithstanding ourselves, we’re especially fascinated with the downfalls and humiliations of our anointed celebrities.

But my concern isn’t over this sleaziness. In the end, we are able to still find, when we search, several outlets that do focus upon the important world and local news. A deeper and more insidious issue is the honesty of our journalists. I think that most people get into journalism because they’ve a perfect of finding and sharing the facts about the people and conditions that form our society. But, like the majority of politicians, they gradually become distracted and compromised by the pressures to be profitable, to attract and hold viewers/readers, to lead with stories, to strengthen a political or social perspective, and to add a spin more interesting and attractive compared to the competitors on one other channels.

And sometimes those pressures force a bending or complete lack of the truth تردد قناة الجزيرة. While I realize that most news outlets have an expressed, or maybe more often unexpressed, political leaning, there remains the moral responsibility to be truthful. But what exactly is truth in the context of reporting on events and people? Can it be still being honest when we emphasize those aspects of the story that reinforce our viewpoint while de-emphasizing or ignoring those who don’t? Are we serving our viewers and readers when we consistently vilify those in the opposing party while blindly praising and ignoring the faults of these in ours? Or is that just being disingenuous? Should the news headlines media be held accountable, as are the others people, when they libel or slander?

Sure, occasionally a supermarket tabloid will lose a slander lawsuit, but seldom do the major newspapers or news channels face such sanctions. When the news headlines media are criticized for his or her dishonesty, hypocrisy or bias, they cry freedom of speech and partisanship and few desire to bring them on. They have become relatively above reproach, in comparison to some other group.

And yet no other segment of our society can so dramatically influence public opinion and political dealings. The news media no more just report on events, they form and even create the events. They are able to make or break political candidates, drive legislation, manipulate the economy into and out of recessions, and even alter foreign policy. They have become a crucial component of our society largely above reproach.

While there’s an extremely real danger in interfering with the news headlines media’s ability to report and go wherever they need to go, they must be more aggressively held accountable when they are deliberately untruthful or manipulative. While our political leaders won’t likely have the courage or will to battle the press, possibly the relatively loose and free Internet will do more to expose dishonesty wherever and whenever it occurs.

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