What the Country Needs is a Return to Journalistic Integrity

What the Country Needs is a Return to Journalistic Integrity

America needs a news source that the public can rely on for accurate coverage and information.

President Donald Trump must be imagining that he is trapped in the sequel to the movie Groundhog Day.  Every morning brings new headlines about something he has done wrong in the eyes of the reporting press.  After a two-or three-day news cycle, the next big “test of his presidency” rolls out and we all toss the previous indiscretions into history’s big green dumpster.

And meanwhile, the only ones getting hurt by all of this are the media pundits, who react as if the latest revelation will surely cause the world as we know it to end.  To be fair, the same thing was happening when President Obama was in office as well.

Formerly prestigious news organizations, which have always tilted to the left, have sunken to tabloid-type news reporting by using click-bait type headlines normally associated with the dreaded “fake news” sites.  I would imagine the fact that printed news is in steady decline, coupled with America’s distrust for TV news channels, is making the once-proud publishers and broadcasters refocus their efforts from journalistic integrity to profit chasing.

In their zest for shock-value headlines, many have taken to social media to get the jump on even live news television, often resulting in running with a story well before the actual facts have been established.  Today’s news reporting has the “guilty until proven innocent” mantra and buries any retractions of incorrect reporting.  Or they continue to stand by the story well after the facts have shown otherwise until the next crisis comes along.

And it’s not just the left.  Right-leaning news organizations defend any accusation against the President and his supporters just as vehemently, sometimes without having a complete grasp of the total picture.

It used to be, if someone wanted to take the time, you could sample news and opinion from both sides, and make an informed decision.  But now, there is a void of actual facts, making it very difficult to discern if anything you read or hear can actually be trusted to be truthful.  And even a true statement is sometimes tainted with an influencing comment or a “wink” casting doubt in the viewer’s collective minds.

With talk and news show hosts switching networks and taking opposite sides of the political wars now that they are working for a different organization, everyday Americans are starting to see who is behind the curtain.  Those who watch one channel had come to believe the host providing the news and commentary to them actually believed what they were saying was true, only to find their beliefs change depending upon who is signing the check.

That, and the hardened position that the other side is always wrong and our side is always right and compromise is a dirty word, is more than any other reason why viewers no longer trust the news outlets.  TV news has morphed into entertainment, with actors playing the parts.

Main street America is tired of the partisan politics in Washington and also in their sources of news coverage.  There is a gigantic hole that can be filled by a news service that is truly fair and balanced, representing both sides and presenting opposing points of view.  A forum that allows for reasonable debate without being shouted down, and is not cut to seven-nine minutes based on a ratings study that shows that is the premium focus time for viewers.

Whatever happened to the common courtesy that each speaker could be allow to make their best argument and then be rebutted by the opposing view?  The shouting matches we are seeing today do nothing to advance either agenda, because in the end, no one knows what either side said.  We even saw it last year in the presidential debates.

Journalists should return to the roots of the industry; present the facts, inform the public, and let them decide for themselves, based on true statements.  Freedom of the press comes with implied integrity.  One-sided press coverage is better suited to dictators and tyrants.

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