While the media and talking heads are continuing to gnash about the outburst of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), they are failing to meet a critical end of journalism: telling the truth. While Rep. Wilson’s outburst gets played over and over, no member of the networks, broadcast or cable, is seeming to step up to the plate and call Wilson’s outburst what it is: a lie itself.
Through emails and other newer versions of gossip, the lie that the President’s and Democratic proposal will cover illegal immigrants continues to fester, in spite of the work of enterprising journalists and people just generally interested in the facts. So while the truth is that illegal immigrants would not be given cover under the bill as proposed, the mainstream media has no quarter for truth in their continued pursuit of “gotcha” moments and personality-driven infotainment.
This all brings me to a second point.
Earlier this week, reporters and former Presidents came together to honor the man who was at the vanguard of journalism for two decades, Walter Cronkite. The man who was, in President Obama’s words, “a voice of certainty in a world that was growing more and more uncertain.” This voice of certainty in uncertain times is something that is missing, because rather than give us solid answers free of bias, these so-called newsmen that we have today feed the fires of uncertainty and weigh us over with bias while claiming to be fair, balanced, and unbiased.
Between financial issues in the print media and the generally sad and sordid state of affairs in broadcast journalism, I find it to be little wonder that Americans as a whole are cynical regarding the state of affairs in this country.
Journalism needs to be rebuilt from the ground level. Frequently it is people whose only business in journalism is business that are making the decisions as to what can and should be reported and what can’t and shouldn’t be. Why not devolve the power of editorial to journalists and their cohorts instead of a corporate board of directors whose interest may be self-serving instead of serving the public interest?
I can’t provide any answers… but maybe one day we can have a solution.