Our duty in journalism is not to be fair, but to be fair to the truth says Lester Holt

Originally published at: Our duty in journalism is not to be fair, but to be fair to the truth says Lester Holt | Boing Boing


:rotating_light:UNINTENTIONAL IRONY ALERT:rotating_light:
This clip was apparently originally created by NewsBusters of the Media Research Center — a conservative/corporatist front group “dedicated to exposing & combating liberal media bias.”


Bad faith actors learned long ago how to weaponize the media’s pathological fear of even the slightest appearance of bias to tug discourse in their desired direction. It’s gotten to the point where a politician or other public figure who is not an expert can scream that the sky is red and a bunch of experts can retort that the sky is actually blue and the media will be like “Maybe the sky is purple?” Giving crazy a platform just inches the middle ground a bit closer to insanity.

Journalists have no obligation to any political party. Their only duty is to the truth.

(A lot of what I’m saying doesn’t apply to Fox News, but the fact that they are even viewed alongside actual journalists just proves my point.)


Okay, how do you make the truth pay as much as fairness (or incendiary headlines)? Because you can tout righteousness all you want, it won’t make a lick of difference at the end of the day if no one can make an honest living out of being an honest reporter.


Do I need to point out that he said this on the April Fool’s Day newscast?


There’s a lot of true shit going on in the world that’s compelling enough that people will watch/read about it. Hell, maybe more people would pay attention to the news if it weren’t just a bunch of people yelling contradictions at each other.


Nice words, but he’s only saying this now? Corporate news outlets were allowing Xtianists a “fair hearing” in debates about teaching young Earth creationism in public school science classes decades ago, and this after the Fairness Doctrine was thrown out. This is an old problem.

The corporate media (and now social media) have a lowest-common-denominator business model that requires them throw “fairness to the truth” out the window. As long as profits take precedence over professional and personal ethics that won’t change.


right? where was this sort of high and mighty adherence to “only the truth” in the last five years, let alone before that? i mean, it’s welcome to hear, but damn it took way too long.


I hope that news outlets figure out soon that they’ll get called “biased” by the right no matter what they do, so they might as well speak the truth and let go of this notion of fairness. This is the news version of Democrats who are so afraid of not seeming “bi-partisan” that they give in to the petulant kicking and screaming of children from the right every time.

As others said, this is a very old problem. Growing up in the 1980s, I remember seeing news stories that seemed obviously stupid to me, like the Satanic Panic. But the news would have one expert from each “side” of the “debate” talk about it. It was my rational mom who explained “oh they always hunt down the one crackpot who believes the silly thing in order to seem like they are ‘balanced’. That’s how the news is”.

The problem of course, is that this is false balance and only serves to legitimize fringe positions, giving the impression that there is equal disagreement among experts on both sides. This erodes truth and critical thinking in insidious ways.



Yet again…


Corporate News? No thank you, and USA thanks you [Corporate News] for giving tRump a huge pass for 5 years.


People don’t seem to understand journalism or journalists at all. All too often I see folks grumble about the decline of the profession or how one person or another doesn’t even have a degree in journalism so how can you trust them.

The amusing thing is that so many of the greats of the profession don’t have degrees. That’s not even counting the folks who started a journalism degree and then dropped out because they got good jobs in the industry (I went to school with a few).

Hell, one of the most respected journalists in Canada only got his start because someone heard his voice at an airport or something like that. But, people only seem to care about this when they disagree with what’s being reported (or how it’s being reported).


My take is that journalism is a subset of and beholden to editorial which, necessarily has a political and ideological bias otherwise it is just an aggregating platform, which also may have a bias, but is more after clicks and reader views for bucks.

A friend is a photojournalist working in extremely sensitive war situations and has a strict sense of ethics around who he photographs and gaining their permission to publish their image for Reuters, Getty and local publications. Editorial is now happening in situ with journalists having to edit/ editorialize in the field.

Contemporary 24/7 news cycles and web platforms mean that any content captured on a device is being used unfiltered by journalistic principles and editorial intervention… sometimes ‘good opinion’ is worth something.

Could just as easily be writing about their coverage of climate change nigh on these 30+ years…:cry:

ETA- @papasan, thanks for that graphic! It’s great. I hope every teacher everywhere is using it.


Absolutely, and I’m willing to bet that’s been a huge contributor to climate change denialism. The climate science community has been united about the problem since at least the 1970s, and corporate owned media has been covering it extremely poorly every since. People have the idea that the universal scientific consensus about it is recent, but really it’s that the universal scientific consensus is finally starting to punch through the oil lobby smoke screen a tiny bit.


I’ve read a number of pieces which argue that techniques used for biblical interpretation are commonly used to construct media bubbles.

Unfortunately, I can’t remember the urls.


Ah: here we are

Searching for Alternative Facts: Analyzing Scriptural Inference in Conservative News Practices


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