Dim view of media? Try more transparency

September 18, 2009

dean-150Dean Wright is Global Editor, Ethics, Innovation and News Standards. Any opinions are his own.

This week brought more distressing news for journalists, as a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found the U.S. public more critical than ever of the accuracy and independence of the media.

Only 29 percent of Americans believe that news organisations generally get the facts straight, the survey found, the lowest level in the survey’s near quarter-century history.

It gets worse:

–Just 26 percent said the media are careful that reporting is not politically biased.
–Only 20 percent believe news organisations are independent of powerful people and organisations.
–Barely a fifth believe the media are willing to admit mistakes.

And news organisations have been able to do what politicians have failed at: creating consensus across party lines. Now solid majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents all believe that stories are often inaccurate and tend to favor one side.

It’s been a long road down. Back in 1985, in the first survey on media performance cited by Pew, 55 percent said news outlets get the facts straight and only 45 percent said the press was politically biased. Now 60 percent see political bias and only 18 percent say the media deal fairly with all sides of political and social issues.

What are we to do?

In the face of criticism, there’s sometimes a tendency to take shelter, keep one’s head down and hope the critics go away. But they won’t go away. And judging by the passionate and sometimes vitriolic criticisms I see in our comment sections, there are significant numbers of readers who will never believe reporters can put aside personal viewpoints and report a story accurately and fairly. You only have to look at discussions of coverage in the Middle East to see that.

The proper response, I believe, can be summed up in two words: More transparency.

That’s why we decided to make freely available to the public the guidelines our journalists live by when we published our Handbook of Journalism–and asked for feedback on it. That’s why I’m doing this job. That’s why we’re aggressive and open about correcting our mistakes. That’s why, in this blog and others, we welcome comments and debate on our work and issues in the news.

Reuters Editor in Chief David Schlesinger put it well in a recent speech, when he described journalism, at its best, as “a mirror, exposing back to society a true and brutally honest picture of what is going on.”

“When we fail at that,” he said, “when our picture is not clear or is at all distorted, we deserve to be criticised.”

At the risk of violating metaphor-overload rules, I invite you to take advantage of the windows we’re opening into our world–our Handbook of Journalism and our blogs–to tell us when you see a distorted picture or when the view is foggy. Or when it’s clear and distinct.

Judging by the dim view of the media revealed in the Pew survey, we can’t open the windows too wide or too soon.

140 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I’m 59 years old. I actually remember when the news was just the facts, validated before the story went public. Opinion and analysis was only printed in the opinions section. The printed news also used to be edited for typos and grammer before being printed. I also remember when criminal cases were judged in court, not in the press. For factual reporting I usually go to the BBC. I used to admire reporters. Well…no more.

Mass media is already transparent. It’s what you transparently ARE that is the problem. Wise up. We simply gagging on your pablum…your vision of a one-world socialist utopia with everyone wearing mao blue serge and riding lithium rickshaws, smiling, red cheeks, bulging female biceps. You make us sick. Sick to death. Transparency my eye.

Posted by raul tsan | Report as abusive

How about doing the job of being the peoples watch dog? When was the last time any of you did any investigative reporting? When a politician tries to make light of an issue, push it home! Double check everything coming out of Washington, I don’t care if it’s Republican or Democrat!

“Airplanes Fly into Buildings” – Reuter’s headline about 9/11. Remember, Reuter’s doesn’t allow use of the word “terrorist”.

Mr. Wright, your whole thesis is based on a falsehold – that journalists are professionals who adhere to a code of ethics. Most journalists are liberals who attend a liberal arts school and are there to “make a difference”, vs. simply reporting what really happened. They hang out with other liberals who have done the same thing and in their defense it’s actually possible that they don’t know that there’s an OTHER side to the story they’re reporting, they just don’t think it’s worth researching or actually FINDING a conservative or a republican to get their take. It’s easy to find liberals and democrats – they’re who they hang out with.

Print and TV “journalism” is dying – done in by journalists via their bias. THAT’S the real story. It’s not suprising you either didn’t recognize it or CHOSE not to report it. Have fun waiting tables.

Posted by thomas | Report as abusive

The Main Stream Media is definitely unreliable. They report what they want you to read and leave out all they wish to hide. The latest Presidential election was a perfect case in point. Neither Obama nor Biden was ‘vetted’ by the Media. No associate of either, especially the Chicago bunch was interviewed nor reported concerning Obama. I firmly believe if the MSM had done their job Obama would never have been elected as POTUS! It was obvious he was not a qualified candidate.

Posted by mark carswell | Report as abusive

“The proper response, I believe, can be summed up in two words: More transparency.”

Eh, no – the proper response is to stop repeating verbatim what politicians say, stop pandering to corporate owners and for journalists to walk when forced to write something they know is wrong or misrepresentative or just plain lies – the papers won’t write themselves. Most journalists DO have integrity, they’re just like everyone else in that they don’t want to lose their jobs. A little solidarity among hacks wouldn’t go amiss in such situations.

Oh, and can we drop the idea that news gathering and keeping the public informed should be a for profit venture? As long as shareholders and millionaires (well, billionaires, actually) are shaping the direction of news coverage the stuff that gets published isn’t worth a damn.

Posted by Stephen | Report as abusive

I am so glad printed press and tv is dying, I hate paper and shallow journalism.

It is good that liberals and democrats are around, judging by the number of conservatives and autocrats we have to deal with on a daily basis.

For the conspiracy theorists, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reuters, the simple information page for simple people.

For the rest type ‘news wires’ into Google and see what comes up: Reuters is certainly the ‘un-dullest’.

Posted by Casper Lab | Report as abusive

It is an absolute violation of jounalistic ethics, if there is such a thing any longer, to be in bed with a political party or cause. Freedom of the press is predicated on separation from ideology. Once the lines are blurred, one must go elsewhere for information.

Posted by Warene Fletcher | Report as abusive

a lot of these comments miss the mark, because of the authors’ refusal to recognize their very own bias. for instance, i recognize that The Huffington Post is going to report/comment on topics and events that i am concerned about, being a moderate liberal; just as it is obvious to me that FOX news’ punditry (as there is very little actual “journalism” going on there) will invariably fill me with disgust and rage at the myopic social conservatism promoted therein…and then, most information available is mostly always second-hand reported. sure, i prefer to be catered to; we all do – these newest comments on this blog make that very clear…at the end of the day, it is OUR job to vet the candidates AND the media; it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to find and compare facts (or what is reported as fact); it is UP TO US to discern reality amid a media culture that is intractably polluted with corporate interest and 24-hour news cycles. Transparency – in the media AND it’s consumers – is definitely the key.

Posted by iris | Report as abusive

I agree with the general message.

Along these lines, I am very concerned about the connections that the media has with larger coporations. For example, everyone knows that NBC is owned by GE; GE is a major government subcontractor. Is it possible for NBC to be biased? Is it possible for them to have an agenda? I would say – it’s very possible. The disclaimers that NBC used only informs us of a feduciary relationship when reporting on GE; but they don’t indicate if the stories or investigation have been toned down or not. It’s up to us to create our own hypothesis. So under these circumstances, NBC and other networks are somewhat discouraged from doing “Real Reporting” as has been seen years ago.

It is very important for the media to be truely capable of objectively, and aggressively investigating to produce the best quality news and information so America can respond as America NEEDS to respond versus being lethargic.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

If I were teaching Journalism, I would be asking my students to produce five examples each day of biased reporting. I would require that they include
any omission of fact as being part of the examples turned in. This would require them
to perform a task that most readers have no time to do. They would have to research the facts behind
the information presented and determine if the whole truth is told. I include an assignment that would ask them to consider sentence structure and usage with regards to poll questions and the impact on results of the questions asked. At the end of each week I would assign a paper that would require them to compile thier
research to find a pattern that might expose a biased reporter. It is the methodology of doing this that would teach them how to think and not what to think.
The final would simply be for them to apply what they have learned to a historical context to produce
a paper that would surmise the effect of their findings on the chosen historical context, like Cronkite with Tet.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Any reporting on issues that touch politics will always be seen as slanted, especially as long as reporters and editors try to take a “fair and balanced” view of the issue.

It is this type of approach that leads readers to question the motives of the writer, as the specific quotes and facts chosen for an article almost always leave something out.

Writers and editors would be better off to stop viewing political balance as something that must be struck between Democratic and Republican (or liberal/conservative) points of view for several reasons.

First, this is a false binary. The truth is that there are more political perspectives and dichotomies than simply right vs. left.

Second, attempting to balance an issue between republican and democratic perspectives creates a situation where the writer and editor must do their best to obfuscate their own perspective on the matter, in so doing, they do a disservice to the discourse by presenting two unequal arguments as equal, and, as a result, presenting two unequal political perspectives as two sides of the same coin (essentially equating these two perspectives as polar opposites, which they aren’t, since both Democratic/liberal and Republican/conservative perspectives can both be traced back to the liberal philosophies of Enlightenment thinkers and founding fathers.

Until relatively recently, it hasn’t been (and should cease being) the responsibility of writers and editors to play mediator for the two dominant political parties in the United States. Instead, writers and editors should put the (largely) ivy-league-educated heads to work by thinking critically and presenting valid and rigorously researched analysis when presenting news.

It was the failure of the press to do this kind of critical thinking that allowed myself and the rest of America to be duped into a long, expensive, and useless war in Iraq. A war that, in the history books, will be (accurately) referred to as the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. Ironically it’s the US that will be represented by the camel.

Posted by Ari | Report as abusive

Transparency, insight into methods used(suggested) are completely irrelevant when reporting is inaccurate or blatently false.
People are wiser than you think and even though we don’t all write in about fallacies or blog about biased reporting we see it and know better.
In just a recent case, one of Reuters articles referred to, and I quote” A Gallup poll in July found that only 30 percent thought the Fed was doing a good job, the worst of all government agencies measured.” End quote.
The federal reserve is not a government agency. This poll implies that it is in the “above and beyond reproach” aura that eminates from government agencies. Whether this be a result of not fact checking a poll or deliberate missinformation it should still be retracted.
This is why no one trusts the media. Let alone the historical bias towards the current wars peaking during 9/11.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

Money is power. Power is control over something. Control over information is called media. Therefore I offer this hypothesis. Money = Power = Media. If you have it (Rupert Murdoch) then you can make your own network and promote your own viewpoints. It’s capitalism at its best. That’s not sarcasm, just a fact of life. I am willing to venture a guess that most American’s in the 50′s thought their news was unbiased, but of course the powerful had an agenda in the 50′s and 60′s. But even if you take out money (take away commercials and socialize the stations…) you will still have governmental influence on media. (Iran, North Korea, and Russia’s English papers.) In essence if someone didn’t have an opinion on something it wouldn’t be reported because no one would care. So the people who care in my generation have turned to Blog Journalism and read many differetn sources…so how about the other generations start researching a little bit and form their own opinion? (Not that we all have the time in the day to do such a thing.) At least before you scream your opinion off the top of a rooftop, find a dissenter and have a debate, you will be shocked at what you can learn about your own views…

Posted by n8 | Report as abusive

Journalism has a lot of ground to cover in cleaning up its act. When I went to graduate journalism at U. of MO in 1990-93, “Ethics” wasn’t even in the curriculum. One professor told me point blank, in front of a class, that nobody who has not worked as a journalist has any right to criticize journalism (At the same time, he could not explain why journalists are allowed to report on physician malpractice). I got the same response in a rejection letter from the editor of the Columbia Journalism Review. Another time in class, I mentioned government’s hacking away at the Second Amendment. The instructor literally shrieked: “GUNS? DON’T COME IN MY CLASS AND TALK ABOUT GUNS! I’M A GODDAM NEWSPAPER REPORTER! I KNOW WHAT GUNS DO!” Feminism, on the other hand, is a sacred cow. Any woman can do anything she likes in journalism school. Anybody who objects is a sexist. Same with people of color. Anybody who objects is a racist.

At the other end of the spectrum, journalism screws up when they paste the label “journalist” on people like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. I overheard a conversation between faculty members one day who were discussing the idea that people who make as much money in media as Limbaugh does cannot be excluded from membership in the profession. And there’s the rub with me. From what I saw of journalists and journalism, it’s all about money and political clout. Nothing else matters.

I went to J-school wanting to be a journalist in the mold of H.L. Mencken. I got my Master’s degree and left thinking I’d rather eat a whole platter of sh*t (without a fork) than work as a journalist. The late Hunter S. Thompson once said “Journalism is a low profession.” So it was that not even Dr. Gonzo got it right: My experience of it was that “journalism is the lowest profession.”

Posted by Deacon Solomon | Report as abusive

When you are that broken, you can’t fix yourself.

Posted by bruce | Report as abusive

Two words: Information Overload.

A participant in the debate suggested that in the good old days “Opinion and analysis was only printed in the Opinions section”. Well, looking at this home page layout, headings and captions, and if you think about it, we are smack bang in the ‘Opinions page’. It is also clearly stated that views are those of the columnists. Regular articles are of a good standard and closed to debate. The only difference is that we are not limited to ‘Letters to the Editors’ anymore, and we are much more informed and opinionated than generations before us. Even though wire service are supposedly 24/7, very few participants are from the Eastern Hemisphere, so it is really a 12/5 effective wire service. What I would like to see is and ‘Educate corner’ where bloggers may submit educative blogs on spec.

The press duped us into the Iraq War ? Come on.

As far as information overload goes, I stopped reading printed media and looking at outdoor advertising and road signs for that reason, and if the kitchen gets too hot, move to the TV room.

Gonzo was on drugs most of his adult life.

Posted by Casper Lab | Report as abusive

As I said in a previous (possibly censored) post.

Don’t just tell us you are biased. Tell us *how* you are biased. Show that you want to be honest with your viewers.

Don’t just tell us what facts you miss. Tell us what facts you deliberately *omit*, and how you believe this effects the perception of your articles.

Otherwise, I do not see a genuine attempt to improve the quality of your reporting. Only the impression of such.

If this post is not published, I will have my answer.

Posted by Anon | Report as abusive

It’s all biased, conscious or unconscious, and sometimes the unconscious bias can be worse than the conscious bias. All major networks are corporate owned, and reporting on stuff like politics and the environment is both corporate- controlled, self-censured.

Also, in the past 20 years news has had to pass the same litmus test as entertainment: it must sell, and it must be trendy. You have to read several different sources of news, and you have to read a broad spectrum of analyses for news to be informative.

Blogs are a double-edged sword: run well they can be great educational sources, but usually the blogger alrady has an opinion, and they are so certain of their rightness that they think nothng of deleting out uncomfortable or opposing opinions.

Then there are trolls who ruin any good discussion on purpose. Then there are paid hacks who wage disinformation campagns like AGW and tobacco denialists (which, it turns out are the same people for the most part). Then there’s networks like FOX, where political viewpoint is a prime consideration of anything they air.

No wonder. Journalism has gone down the rabbit hole, parallel to the decline of Wall Street. It’s a jungle out there, and all the animals are looking for food or sex or both. Journalism is no different.

Reader beware.

Posted by westcoastwatcher | Report as abusive

In my opinion journalists interviewing other journalists is not news. It is filler. Time filler. T.V. News is a type of entertainment which requires 24-7 content. Hence the need for fill.
Talk radio does well because it recognizes it is a form of entertainment. It is very funny in our politicall correct T.V. News world.
I was taught long ago to question the authority of the messenger and to keep in mind the messengers stated bias and who gives the messenger their paycheck. Journalists do not do any of this anymore. Our free press, so essential to our political system is not free and unbiased. Journalist have tingles….
Our political system is what makes us Americans. It binds us as U.S. citizens. When our press fails us and when voters do not understand our political process we are in grave danger. The voter then becomes just a part of another group with their hands out in exchange for a vote. Self interest becomes short term interest and U.S. interests are lost. We no longer understand the process and it is like politics today, me;me;me. Long term selfishness requires the facts and responsibility.
Personal responsibility, as a citizen, as a reporter is treated as something out of the 50′s. Health care becomes a right and no one asks the cost.

Posted by Lenora Mobley | Report as abusive

Well Dean, it seems you’ve got some responses to your query. I would like to hear your (and Reuters) response to some of the issues brought up here. I challenge you to publish some of the comments here and respond publically. That would be a good follow-up article to show us you are serious about exposing bias in the media…

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

Consumers of news need to do their due diligence.
a) Find out who the reporter is, what are the opinions expressed in the past. After all reporters are people too.

b) If any “expert” opinion is quoted or referred to in the article, who is that expert: is he qualified to be considered an expert on the subject matter at hand.

Given the internet, it is very easy to follow the above formula. It is amazing how fast propaganda is separated from real news.

Posted by meteor | Report as abusive

I want to thank the community for a lively and civil discussion. As Sean’s comment pointed out, we’ve certainly had a number of responses, which seem to me to fall into a few categories:
–Those who think that news organisations in general–or Reuters journalists in particular–are so hopelessly biased that we can never, ever gain your trust and you’re turning to alternative forms of media. I can only ask that you judge us by our actions and what we produce– and think a bit about what the world would be like with no “mainstream” media to do the everyday reporting that fuels debate in alternative media.
–Those who think we’re trying to be fair, inclusive and unbiased but sometimes suffer lapses. We don’t always succeed in this objective, but I’m in this role to make sure our journalists know and follow the guidelines in our Handbook of Journalism and provide a clear, undistorted picture of the world. Many other news organisations, too, have ombudsmen or reader representatives who help promote high standards in reporting and editing.
–Those who think Reuters and other news organisations are just not very good at the basics of our job. Sadly, sometimes we do make errors–of commission and omission. Still, we correct errors quickly and prominently and we’re always adjusting our coverage tactics and strategies to meet the needs of a changing world. As an editor with 36 years in this business, I’ve never been more impressed with the quality of the men and women producing journalism.
–Those who think news organisations are doing a pretty good job at telling the world’s story, but could do better. I’m in this group, though some days it seems like we have a long, long way to go to prove ourselves. Thanks for your confidence, but as I said in my original piece, it’s vital that we be as transparent as possible about the guidelines we live by and how we do our jobs. That way, it’s more clear when we fall short.
I’ll be returning often in my For the Record column to the issue of trust and I look forward to engaging and lively discussions.

Posted by Dean Wright | Report as abusive

The decline of print media has been blamed on the internet. Another plausible hypothesis is the business goal of market expansion via eighth grade reading level and political goals allowing for the ‘foxification’ of news. US Democracy nolonger lives on a healthy stream of factual data for public decision making. No wonder no one reads papers or treats the president with respect. I say shame on the “Great Generation” for raising the degenerate boomers. I think “baby-bloopers” is more appropriate.

OK then Reuters – rise to your own challenge of objective news and do a series of investigative stories on how Reuters spewed propaganda during the Iraq war.

Jon Krakauer has just blasted the US propaganda machine with a book about Tillman with references to the Jessica Lynch propaganda stupidity. It came about 7 years too late, but something is better than nothing.

If is safe now for Krakauer to do it, so can Reuters – though I wish you journalists weren’t all so cowardly.

Rise to your own challenge of objective news and do a series of investigative stories on how Reuters spewed propaganda during the Iraq war.

It will be fascinating to see how, despite a “Handbook” the content of a news organization can be controlled and manipulated by Government and Business.

It is time for apologies.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Dean,

You are a brave soul for bringing this up. Talk show radio hosts admittedly have biases. Reporters, however should be above this. There is a fundamental flaw in all of this. Major metropolitan areas are countries unto themselves, while the smaller towns and communities are not areas where reporters congregate. You have become elitists to those of us in the boonies.

While you believe, with some credible authority I might add, that a rifle in the hands of an untrained twelve-year old with a .22 caliber rifle in New York City is a bad idea – and the generalized to the other 49 states; I applaud a younster with that rifle for the rabbit meat that he provides his grandmother in Williston, North Dakota.

While you believe that all the federal government should be concentrated in one geographical location – also a large metropolitan area, many believe those congressmen (politically correct and proper protocol for both sexes) should be required to stay in their districts and use current technology to interact while feeling the daily pressure from their constituents. This makes for more expensive reporting and lobbying.

Reporters are out of touch so much with middle America that they don’t even understand that they are out of touch. The Tea Partyers and other perceived radical extremists are the result of years of common sense being trodden upon by the urban patricians. So, the next time you go through Columbia, SC, stop for breakfast at Lizard’s Thicket rather than the Hilton.

Personally, I don’t find many reporters whose biases don’t ooze from the pen like a vile slime that conceals even the most obvious fact. But, then again, that’s probably my bias!

Other than that, most of you guys do a great job. Just call an ace an ace without fear of retribution for political correctness. Remember, most accountants know how to show the facts any way you want to see them. It is up to the astute analyst to determine the most truthful and relevant – unless your boss doesn’t like it.

Come to think of it, you have an impossible job! I’m going for coffee – come along and we’ll talk sports.

Posted by Brigham 007 | Report as abusive

How about more editorializing and opinion? Seriously. Just shift all the line reporters to commentary, and dispense with news altogether. Because the opinions are so productive and valuable.

Posted by DM | Report as abusive

Dean,

Thank you for this ande I hope Reuters will take the findings of this research seriously. The Pew research was probably done nationally, but it should be noted that in parts of the center of the country where I live I would assure you that the media is held in even lower regard; no that I know would say that the national media is unbiased. When Saturday Night Live joked on multiple occaisions about the media being in the tank for Obama did it never become a subject of serious concern in editorial boardrooms? It was funny because it was just the big inside joke of all the smart people, an in-your-face poke at conservatives. But we know the really is hardly different from the parody, and for that reason we mostly just ignore the msm now. You can recover our respect but it will mean making an honest effort at balance and abandon the trivial. The big joke around our house when we turn on the TV news or pick up a paper is for someone to say “I wonder if Michael Jackson is still dead.”

Posted by Jack L Graves | Report as abusive

OK so lets do a little experiment of our own on reporting a story:
Dean you just made a comment on the results so far of this question. You chose to represent the results in a certain way by breaking them down into 4 general categories you defined and responding in short to each, also pointing out where you sit personally.

Now that’s one way to present results, however after reading and analyzing the last 100 posts myself I found:

- 96% of bloggers strongly agreed there was a serious problem with accuracy, bais or corruption in the media.

- 1 person in 100 (harold trout) thought there were no such problems.

- 3 people spoke off topic and did not address the article.

Now of those 96% the VAST majority were VERY strongly opposed to the current state of the media so much so that most of them took the time and effort to write and articulate very lengthy arguments as to why we should not trust corporate media.

I think I was maybe asking a different question than you dean, but do you think the one i’m asking is more important, or just more dangerous?
Can anyone explain the difference between my results and deans??

Posted by brian | Report as abusive

Dean Wright writes: “As an editor with 36 years in this business, I’ve never been more impressed with the quality of the men and women producing journalism.”

There’s the problem, Dean Wright. In therapy, it’s called ‘denial.’ You and other members of your profession seem to bathe in it daily.

Tell you what: next time you look out your window and see a mob of tea-baggers stomping around in the street, go back into your office and read ‘Glenn Beck’s Common Sense.’ Soon as you get through laughing at Glenn Beck and the idiocy of his followers, recall that the press was once known as ‘the schoolmaster of the people.’ Then explain to yourself again why it is that you think journalism is doing a good job for American democracy.

The state of this nation should be the shame of newsmen everywhere.

Posted by Deacon Solomon | Report as abusive

If journalism is to strive for an unbiased, objective telling of events, it will first have to start from the precondition that there is a Truth to be told. Unless the journalist believes in the fundamental philosophical principle that Truth Exists, then there can be no objectivity in his journalism.

The problem with journalism today is that the philosophically untenable principle of relativism has become the fundamental paradigm and perspective of journalists. Unfortunately, this reduces Truth to a series of competing, subjective perspectives. When everyone is always “correct,” then someone will always be offended that they are being lied to.

Thus, journalism’s bias becomes most apparent when articles are written that attempt to provide equal footing to perspectives that are contrary to Truth. Consider how words like “progressive,” “right,” and “pro-choice” are used in the journalism. These words are often used in a way that is directly contrary to basic foundational Truth.

Mainstream journalism has taken the proper notion of presenting various perspectives on amoral issues and perverted it. Now issues that touch on the very nature of Truth itself are bandied about without resolution. Tocqueville has correctly identified that democratization tends to degrade the intellectual class and cheapen philosophy. In other words, today we are all journalists, but we no longer know what is True.

Posted by Gary | Report as abusive

I suspect most journalists think they report the truth for the most part. Where they fail, in my opinion, is in intellectual honesty, having been bombarded themselves in college and within their own cocoons with all kinds of false indoctrinations that end up coloring their perspective on everything. They need to get over the persistent intellectual laziness of assuming their notions of the world are correct, and start really questioning everything. Journalists often write or say the most ridiculous things, seemingly oblivious to their own ignorance.

Posted by Eric Peckham | Report as abusive

For all the talk of transparent media the (lack of) coverage on the current police state tactics taking place in Pittsburgh right now are going remarkably unnoticed. It’s the first time LRAD’s have been used on the American people under a law that prohibits them from assembling or protesting (with out a permit, they are not giving out permits). This is not news-worthy? The internet is ablaze with these goings-on and yet the major media centers remain pretty much silent on this, little blips about protesters causing violence but nothing of the thousands of police and military attacking these peaceful protesters.

That’s why people don;t trust mainstream media, it’s nothing but a pack of lies, omissions and half truths.

Posted by Orgizmo | Report as abusive

As this section will obviously not reach Mr. Swann’s record of 170+ VAT comments, I suppose it is time for rebuttal:

As I was standing shoulder high in the empty dam on the farm, not having rained for three years, over the past weekend, surrounded by many species with their own sounds, doing number one, two and even three everywhere they wanted to, many in various stages of labour, everybody out to get rid of my favourite animals, the jackal and the lynx, as they kill 5% of all livestock yearly, I thought to myself: this is beyond prayer.

When I came back to the City of Radioactivity and Cyanide, and reading the comments below, I thought to myself that I should rather have gone to the coast and read Animal Farm in the first place. What a circus.

Let’s then look at EQ if IQ is a sacred word and postulate it is an upside down/inverted IQ bell curve. That would place Forrest Gump on the far left side and JFK on the far right side. We seem to lack EQ.

Posted by Casper Lab | Report as abusive

Easy as this, stop printing so much crap, and people might actually give it a read.

Posted by moose | Report as abusive

Integrity is within, the problem is integrity does not get on the front page. Our society drives this train, words like: sex, explosive, mass, horror, tragic and celebrity do. Oh we get anew to jump on every now and then.

Stand back and look at this, what base truths about people could you possibly write.
This has become a world our standard for subjects, if you today’s article, the words might be rearranged, but it will still be there tomorrow.

Dominick
From WSOPNE.org

What used to be known as “reporter” is now referred to as “journalist”. Reporters used to be tasked with reporting on stories and writing about the “who” “what” “where” “when” and “why” of a newsworthy event. Today “journailsts” are dedicated to “changing the world” or “making a difference”. That isn’t reporting, that is tinkering, slanting, censoring or even attempting to MAKE the news.

If reporters do not know what their job responsibilities are, they should find a new line of employment. That the biases of our so-called journailsts of today is now so readily apparent, can there be any wonder why the profession is no longer trusted? Further, instead of such bias being rewarded with pink slips from editors, they are rewarded with Pulitzer Prizes – far too often for made-up, totally fabricated tales – that were falsely filed so some “journalist” could “make a difference”.

Posted by 4Deuce | Report as abusive

Do not underestimate the American people. We are resourceful and with a good dose of common sense. I deeply believe that we will come out of this Crisis, yes different, but better.

Posted by oscar canosa | Report as abusive

Why was debate killed by the moderators on this thread when it was extremely popular??

Posted by brian | Report as abusive