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.
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:*attackverbtake aggressive action against (a place or enemy forces) with weapons or armed force, typically in a battle or war.nounan 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.
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.