Monday, January 30, 2012

liar, liar, pants on fire.

How well does modern American journalism tell the truth? And how do I think it can be improved?

First of all, I think it's difficult to determine just what truth is--which is what the book addressed as one of the issues for arguing truth in journalism. Is truth just telling the facts? Because journalism is more than just putting the facts out there; it's analyzing and understanding and conveying those facts for others. Considering that journalists need to analyze the facts to an extent, I don't believe one can be truthful in reporting; analyzing, I believe, will always contain a certain degree of bias, a certain prior prejudice or opinion.

Considering this, I don't believe any journalism tells the truth--I tend to think it's virtually unattainable. I do however, believe that journalists can be honest and fair, get the facts straight, and try to leave bias and opinion out of their reporting. For example, most people will associate Fox News with Republicans and MSNBC with Democrats. Reporters' opinions are evident. Because of this, I don't believe this is "truthful" reporting--I believe in being as bias and opinion free as possible.

While there is good reporting, there is always room for improvement. The book spoke of the option of portraying both sides of the story (for example, the Republican view and the Democratic view); but I believe this would still leave room for reporters' or even editors' personal opinions and angles. To better tell the truth, I think a reporter would simply need to report the facts in the most unbiased fashion possible. After all, one wouldn't want to be caught on camera with pants on fire.

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