a lost art
Mark Twain famously once said, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
If he were alive today he would likely say,
- “Don’t believe anything you hear on the radio or read in the newspaper.
- If you get a TV be sure to get two of them – one for CNN and the other for FOX.
- If one channel is ignoring a current event, assume the other’s version is mostly correct.
- If both cover the same event, interpolate between the two to find something near the truth.
- Above all, assume all quotes are taken out of context and all images and videos have been edited to purposely mislead the viewer.”
Over recent decades, polls have shown politicians as the only segment of society worthy of less respect than journalists. So how could it be that journalism was once a respected field of endeavor and schools like Northwestern, USC and Scripps College turned out talented professionals, worthy of that respect? Sadly, both politicians and journalists are still declining in terms of trust and respect.
I am not entirely sure how that happened but I will share some recent statistics and a couple of personal experiences. I would argue that the primary reason for the level of distrust held by our citizenry toward banks, corporations, and even our court system comes from misinformation about them being spread by the news media. To be clear, if current events were reported factually as “news” without the distortion of the inherent politically biased commentary, not only would the victims of the misinformation (corporations, etc.) be held in higher esteem, but the news media itself would be treated with less contempt.
As for Journalism, I hope the opinion pieces that follow serve as examples of how the integrity of the media has deteriorated so terribly, and provide some hope that the situation can be improved.
On the other hand, as for politicians, it is likely that more clarity around their conduct would push them off the low end of the scale. Perhaps it is fitting that both politicians and journalists remain indebted to each other.