Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Media Lies, Eh?

I just cut someone off my facebook list because they said, "The media lies about everything."
I am so sick of hearing this.
This is always farted out the mouths of people who are not, and who never have been, members of the media, so they don't know what they're talking about.
These are often liberal-thinking people who like to think they're above racism, prejudice and making generalizations and yet they think nothing about lumping an entire profession into one negative comment. They wouldn't be caught dead making generalizations about anybody else but they say "media lies" without thinking twice. For some reason society thinks it's OK to media-bash. I'd like to see the world go back to a time when there was no media, when there was no way for people to find out what was going on unless they attended those boring meetings themselves. Now they sit around on their keesters and cruise the internet and watch the TV and bitch about the lying media. And if they do go to an event and see what goes on for themselves, and the media coverage doesn't match up with their personal view, they see that as media lies.
I was a reporter for 20 years and I did nothing but my best to tell the truth. And I can tell you, the people I work with have the same philosophy. There may be bad apples in any barrel but not every piece of fruit is oozing with rot and worms.
So to everyone who lumps the media together and calls us liars I say this:
Fuck. Off.


  1. Yep. Like everything, journalism has a subjective element. But the facts are usually there for all to see, the bones laid bare to pick through.

    As consumers of anything -- medicine, cars, information -- we are responsible for our outcomes. Strong post, Cathy O. Peace...

  2. I think people media-bash for the same reason they government-bash, religion-bash and science-bash. They're gigantic entities that, by their sheer size alone, appear to hold a monolithic point of view because looking at any one sub-group can overwhelm your perspective. There are doubtless other reasons, but that one comes to mind the most often for when people complain about a liberal bias, or a pro-Israeli agenda, or being too sensationalist, etc. It seems a part of human nature to get caught in rebellions, to find what you hate and define yourself against it so you never have to be anything yourself; they just have to be bad, and you're defacto good. Cynicism is a safety blanket that way.

    That said, I have my hesitations about the major media. I am not above racism, prejudice or making generalizations. I do worry about the news media I peruse - it's why I make efforts to read news from opposing sources, and to primarily read magazines I'm ideologically separate from. There are myriad cases of major media deliberately distorting information. It happened over a hundred years ago in the lead-up to the Spanish-American War, and it happened a couple of years ago when major anchors from CNN, Fox News and MSNBC all decided to deliberately misinterpret a translation of comments by the Prime Minister of Iran that there were "no gays" in his home country. Bill Frist was recently a guest on Charlie Rose's show, and commented at length about how different his program was, for on major networks producers were coaxing him and other guests to be glib and confrontational, with people who tried to remain rational not being invited back. It's also noteworthy that private individuals are not the only ones who insult major media; Fox News itself lambastes the "mainstream media" on a weekly basis despite being part of it. In a perverse way, the mainstream media being corrupt has become part of the mainstream media's coverage of itself.

    I do not hate the media. And I respect you, Cathy. My instinct is actually to trust everything I hear, which is why I worry about it so much. But the central truth is that the media never lies; individuals do.

  3. I find it humorous when people make such generalizations, or one person says the media slants to the left while another calls it to the right.

    I think we bring our own biases into the mix when we read - if we don't like it we'll say it lies, if it agrees with our own philosophy we declare it to be true.
    You give a unique view from inside the system. Bravo for speaking up.

  4. Bravo Cathy. As a member of the media and much like you I do my level best to tell the truth with every story I read.

    Enjoyed reading this post.

  5. Pretty strong words Cathy but what you say is true

  6. Sorry Mom, I'll go wash my mouth out with soap, now...

  7. As a member of the working media -- a Pulitzer-prize winning daily paper -- that inflames me as well.

    Newspapers are dropping like flies. Who will they hate when we're all gone?

  8. @Mr Wiswell: you make a good point about "big thing"-bashing. I think it's worse than people not being able to get perspective. Too many people don't care about perspective, and let other people do their thinking for them. Perhaps I'm making a generalisation: "Big-thing"-bashers don't think for themselves.

  9. Okay. I vow never to say it again. Can you let me back on Facebook, now?


    I see your point, Chica. :)

  10. I think you are all in denial. You ignore the systemic problems based on individual experiences missing the big picture. Check out the research The_CIA_and_journalism on this problem:Subverting Journalism: Reporters and the CIAby Kate Houghton

  11. You were a reporter for 20 years? And yet you end your article with, "Fuck. Off."? Real professional!


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