Thursday, August 10, 2006

Time to Press the Press?

I have despised most of the mainstream media for quite a while now so I was not in the slightest surprised over the recent photography scandal. But it does present a very real problem. The Bill of Rights do not in any way restrict the freedom of the press. And the press seems to profess the freedom to make up "news" and lie and manipulate to their hearts content to sell whatever story they deem best. Now, I will not deny that the media is not a charitable institution but a business and so must consider which stories will sell magazines, newspapers, etc. However, at what point does the media become responsible for being simply honest and admitting that they are no longer reporting facts or possibly even "news?" Are the examples of Stephen Glass, Jayson Blair and now the Reuters photographer simply isolated incidents? Or are they merely the most obvious extentions of the general media's desire to twist stories to their own agenda?

Now this places Americans in a difficult situation. If the media in general is so manipulative and dishonest, how do Americans know what is true and what isn't? How do they know what the reality of a foreign war is? Or what politicians really said? We have all heard so many conflicting reports about what exactly happened in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. What is the truth? How are Americans to think or feel or, perhaps most importantly, vote if anything and everything they are told or read could be a festering pit of lies and twists and spin? And yet under every story is that ever-waving right to freedom of the press. Should there be some legal restrictions that any outlet professing to provide political, legal, or social"news" (no, I don't consider celebrity news "news") never willfully and deliberately manipulate facts or quotes to intentionally deceive the public? Certainly it would not be easy to prove in a court of law. But I'm not a lawyer. That is their problem.

I just find it repulsive that, under the banner of the Bill of Rights, the general media is protected to mislead, manipulate, and deceive the public leaving the public often at the whim of a "journalist's" personal political, religious, or other slant on any set of events.

No comments:

Post a Comment