The standards of integrity in the Television News medium have been seriously eroded over the past few decades. Cable News shows now contain segments that provide hard news and opinion sprinkled with a bit of entertainment. The line between news and opinion sometimes gets blurred by the sinister addition of ideology.
This has been featured recently
On December 13th2011, the PBS News Hour ran a segment, hosted by senior correspondent Jeffrey Brown, reporting on an educational program called the News Literacy Project that tries to educate middle school and high school students about how to sort fact from fiction within the news. The project was started by former Los Angeles Times investigative reporter, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Alan Miller.
In the broadcast interview with Miller, there is a point when he says, “There is so much potential here for misinformation, for propaganda, for spin, all of the myriad sources that are out there,” -at that moment a quick but unmistakable TV screenshot of Bill O’Reilly, the host of the popular show on FOX News, appears.
The next day Fox News opinion show host Bill OReilly questioned the integrity of the segment on his show The OReilly factor, claiming that the piece suggested that he engages in “spin”.
On December 14, 2011 MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts made the following statement:
“So you might not hear Mitt Romney say "keep America American" anymore. That's because it was a central theme of the KKK in the 1920s. It was a rallying cry for the group's campaign of violence and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews. The progressive blog America blog was the first to catch onto that.”
Later that evening Chris Matthews, after returning from a station break said the following:
“We're back. During the 11am hour on MSNBC today we reported on a blog item that compared a phrase used by the Romney campaign to one used by the KKK way back in the 1920s. It was irresponsible and incendiary of us to do this, and it showed an appalling lack of judgment. We apologize, we really do, to the Romney campaign.”
In September of 2011 President Obama made a speech in which he incorrectly identified Abraham Lincoln as the founder of the GOP.
Later when presenting a transcript of the speech PBS deleted the gaffe:
The New York Times transcript has the following quote:
"We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future -- a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad -- (applause) -- launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges. (Applause.) And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set."
But how does it appear in the PBS transcript?
"We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. But in the middle of a Civil War, he was also a leader who looked to the future - a Republican president who mobilized government to build the transcontinental railroad; launch the National Academy of Sciences; and set up the first land grant colleges. And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set."
It seems as though Newspapers and Television are ignoring the important principals of objective journalism. News and opinion must be strictly separated and stories must be validated before they are run.
It is time for them to remember that journalism is a profession which requires the following standards:
Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice.
www.spj.org › Ethics