The “Code of Ethics” of the Society of Professional Journalists states: “Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should examine the ways their values and experiences may shape their reporting. Journalists should support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.”
In the spirit of transparency and openness, which is touted by the mainstream media, wouldn’t it be in the best interest of everyone involved for journalists (read: reporters,) when doing a political piece, to state which party or candidate they support beforehand? If a reporter has a vested interest in the outcome of an election, and does a hit piece on one of the candidates, a conflict of interest necessarily arises.
The politics of journalism are pervasive in every election cycle. Cenk Uygur, in a recent interview on CNN, said it loud and clear. He accused CNN of bias in its reporting. There is no such thing as the concept of ‘fair and balanced’ in the mainstream media anymore. There hasn’t been for a long, long time. Media outlets have long distorted their stories, fabricated the news, misrepresented facts, and tried to dumb-down the population by spoon-feeding them un-truths, half-truths, and outright lies.
There are many examples of this, even outside the realm of politics. Photos are routinely re-labeled for use in completely unrelated stories. Many articles about military actions, political demonstrations, government coups, and even environmental effects, have photos attached which were taken months or years before in different countries portraying different events, altogether. Photos attached to a story about the consequences of a Russian bombing campaign in Syria could actually have been taken from an American sortie in Iraq. Photos of a mass student rally in South America could be used to make it look like a mass uprising in the middle-east. Photomanipulation also plays a key role in some instances.
Ambiguous retractions (offered only when the evidence is publicly debunked) are often buried or said in passing, and only once. For example, after days of non-stop coverage of ‘Assad’s chemical weapons strike,’ CNN aired an interview with a man (who could hardly speak any English) refuting the claim that Assad’s forces were responsible, based on a report from Médecins Sans Frontières. The report was aired once and at 4am EST. They did not, based on this new evidence, change their tune. The MH-17 tragedy was reported on in much the same manner, neglecting to mention conflicting reports simply because John Kerry (based on no evidence) proclaimed it to be so. Most of the information about the situation in Ukraine and Russia’s ‘incursion’ into the Crimea is also suspect. Is the western news media beholden to the State Department? It would appear so.
An excellent article from Global Research with many examples on the subject can be found here.
Many examples of government lines being spun by the media in order to further a political agenda can be found. There are almost as many examples of those stories having been proved biased, mis-leading, incomplete, out of context, or just plain wrong. Stories about 9/11, terrorism, Ukraine, Russia, China, Israel, the Federal Reserve, economics, the middle-east, ISIS, the environment, refugees, prominent suicides, plane crashes, and anything involving John Kerry seem disproportionately affected.
Vocabulary is another tool which the media use to villify others and push their version of the truth. Jake Tapper recently categorized Donald Trump’s ‘attack*’ of an American judge of Mexican descent as being, “…the definition of racism.” He (Jake Tapper) specifically said that ‘Mexican’ was a race. Trump did not. Trump was also accused of ‘attacking’ Latinos and women when he commented that because of a tripling in food stamps, the governor (who is both) should do a better job. I do not support Trump, (nor do I support Clinton,) but none have had their words twisted to the extent that he has. Many bastardizations, miscategorizations, and ignorance of context and nuance are used routinely to bend the words of guests, pundits, and newsworthy individuals. The ‘loose’ translations of speeches and statements by foreign dignitaries is an easy way to achieve this goal, as well. (Religious scholars have been using this trick for millennia.) The word literally, literally, has a new meaning. Words are often mis-pronounced in order to show who’s on which side of the debate. Divisive (div/iss/ive vs. div/ice/ive) is a classic – btw, the former is correct.
Case in point:
take aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force, typically in a battle or war.
an aggressive and violent action against a person or place.
note: If words are defined as weapons, this definition might be true, but it certainly goes against the spirit of the definitions presented.
The financial news is perhaps the area in which the most manipulation and cherry-picking occur. Negative stories about the state of the economy are played down, positive stories are played up, and complexities are never truly examined or explained (mostly because of the lack of financial knowledge on the part of the reporters.)
The complete story behind the markets, the American economy, the global economy, the actors involved, and much more can be found here, on ZeroHedge.
And then there is the stuff they just make up.
Television news has been corrupted. Bought and paid for by corporate and political interests and financed through advertising by these same entities. “Support our candidate or we will advertise on another station.” “Portray the new congressional bill in a positive light or we will cut your funding.” “Support our wars of conquest or you will be labeled as subversive, or worse.” Scratch our backs and we will scratch yours is the mantra that pervades that which passes itself off as news.
Of course, they mainstream news tries to blame the prevalence of fake stories on the internet. “How the internet misled you in 2015”-BBC. This is certainly a valid point. The reality, though, is that much of what is viral first came from a news desk. Not all their mistakes are attributable to conspiracy theorists and subversive forces. Fake social media stories can easily be ignored; those from reputed (Reuters, AP etc) and state-run news agencies (CBC, BBC etc) cannot. The implications are far too important.
News agencies must vett their sources, check their facts, verify their media, do their own research, and double-check everything otherwise the 1st Amendment (and other statutes similar to it) are left hollow, bereft of any meaning in a free and democratic society. Either that or they should admit to being an entertainment program and lose the ‘News’ moniker, altogether. Either way, honesty and integrity need to find their way back into the daily lives of the masses. They simply don’t have time to check.
Is it any wonder why news media outlets are so mis-trusted? Is it any wonder why politicians often use distrust of the news media to deflect, to distract and to deceive? And for those of you who think that this used to happen, but doesn’t anymore…
Both these people still make regular appearances on the cable news network. I guess their budgets are not what they used to be. I wonder why.
…do a search with these terms, “cnn fake parking lot.”
Actually, just watch this short video. (26:11)
Some more images (some viral, some from the news) for your consideration.
In the immediate aftermath of the death of Osama bin Laden on May 1, several fake photos of his body appeared online; at least one was a scam intended to load adware onto unsuspecting viewers’ computers. This doctored photo of Osama bin Laden is a mashup of two photos, one coming from the movie “Black Hawk Down,” according to a breakdown of the photo by JustScandals.com. http://www.cnet.com/pictures/pictures-that-lie-photos/
This digital composite of Sen. John Kerry and Jane Fonda sharing a stage at an antiwar rally emerged during the 2004 presidential primaries while Kerry campaigned for the Democratic nomination. The picture of Kerry was captured by photographer Ken Light as Kerry was preparing to give a speech at the Register for Peace Rally held in Mineola, N.Y., in June 1971. The picture of Jane Fonda was captured by Owen Franken as Fonda spoke at a political rally in Miami Beach, Fla., in August 1972. http://www.cnet.com/pictures/pictures-that-lie-photos/
This digitally altered photograph of O.J. Simpson appeared on the June 1994 cover of Time magazine shortly after Simpson’s arrest on murder charges. This photograph was manipulated from the original mug shot. A copy of the mug shot also appeared, unaltered, on the cover of Newsweek. Time magazine was subsequently accused of manipulating the photograph to make Simpson appear “darker” and “menacing.” http://www.cnet.com/pictures/pictures-that-lie-photos/
A viral photo allegedly shows a female Kurdish soldier who’s slain over 100 Islamic State fighters. But a Swedish journalist who actually met the woman in the photo says she’s a former law student who volunteered with the home guard or police force of Kobane, and isn’t a front-line fighter. Therefore it’s unlikely she’s killed huge numbers of the enemy. http://hoaxes.org/photo_database/viral_images
Orphaned Syrian Boy Sleeping Between his Parents’ Graves. The photo, as captioned, tugged at the heartstrings. So it was no surprise that it quickly went viral. But it was soon revealed to be a staged shot taken by a photographer in Saudi Arabia as part of a conceptual art project. The graves were fake, and the boy was the photographer’s nephew. The photographer, 24-year-old Abdel Aziz Al-Atibi took the photo of his nephew Ibrahim on January 3, 2014. He then posted it to his Instagram account, with the message, “Some kids might feel that their dead parents’ bodies are more affectionate to them than the people they’re living with.” He later explained to beirut.com: “I’m a photographer and I try to talk about the suffering that is happening in society, it’s my hobby and my exaggeration is intended to deliver my idea.” The image quickly went viral, but as it did so people assumed it showed a child whose family had been killed during the conflict in Syria. And it quickly gained a caption to that effect. When Al-Atibi learned of how the photo was being misunderstood, he uploaded more photos showing other shots of his nephew during the photoshoot, to demonstrate that the scene was a staged art project. http://hoaxes.org/photo_database/viral_images
The photo does actually show a young boy comforting his sister. But it wasn’t taken in Nepal in 2015. It was taken in Vietnam in October 2007 by photographer Na Son Nguyen. Na Son told the BBC News that he was in Can Ty, a remote village in Ha Giang province, when he came across the two children who were playing while their parents were working in the field. The girl started to cry, frightened by the presence of a stranger, and the boy reached out to comfort her. About three years later, Na Son noticed that the photo was going viral amongst Vietnamese Facebook users who were mistakenly describing it as a photo of “abandoned orphans.” He tried to correct the misinformation, but to no avail. The photo was subsequently misidentified as showing “Burmese orphans” and “victims of the civil war in Syria.” However, it reached the heights of its viral popularity after the Nepal earthquake when the two children were associated with that tragedy. http://hoaxes.org/photo_database/viral_images