Media negligence

Media Negligence or Neglect

The front page of the newspaper today leads with a story of the claim by isis that Jordanian airstrikes killed an American hostage.  I have to ask why does this rate being on the front page.  Does anyone believe these people are capable of the truth?  Yet it is printed as factual.  I assume the placement of this story is an editor’s decision but then every story is.  This is to me a major flaw within our media both print and electronic not only the articles selected for publication but also the questions not asked.  I don’t expect the front page to resemble the editorial page and be opinion but I do expect some indication of the veracity either through a written reference and perhaps even the placement within the paper or newscast.  Lead stories are important.

Listening to a radio broadcast this week I heard something unusual.  The discussion had to do with a congressional committee review of the Cuba policy change as directed by President Obama.  Two or three specific persons, both senators and congresswoman, were very critical of this change.  One person on the radio discussion group actually stated that she heard what these people had to say.  However they offered no alternative solution or option which she thought was necessary.  She respected the criticism but expected the responsible position would be to provide an alternate way.   If the existing policy isn’t doing anything then change it but give your changes not just your criticism.  At least the guest on the panel was asking the question.  We have not heard that out the media in years in my opinion.

If we go back to coverage of the Affordable Care Act, those who opposed it said whatever they wanted and it was reported.  I recall the so called “death panels” and “government takeover” of health insurance.  We knew then and now that was not only incorrect, it was an outrageous lie.  Regardless it was reported repeatedly by the media.  No questions asked of the persons making such statements or any indication in the reporting that this was not in the law or at least some clarification.  How about an alternative other than repeal?  No such questions were asked that I can recall.  Whether one supported the law or not tell me what is wrong don’t lie to me and have the media let you get away with a lie.

The media can make mistakes and be wrong on occasion but I expect a reasonable effort at truth and clarity.  Some of the media is simply a constant opinion page or program not the news.  I am not referring to those, I should be diligent enough to seek what I expect to read or hear as responsible reporting.  There are numerous reporters who do risk their lives in seeking the truth and the correct story.  I certainly respect them.  However the very well paid photogenic types and the revenue seeking print media do a disservice to those reporters and to the public they claim to inform.  Accuracy is important but integrity is critical.

Phil Ward


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