Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Poor Journalism

I've been a journalist for 20 years.

I don't operate at the highest level of my profession at say CNN, NY Times or The Wall Street Journal, but I am a professional and I understand what is supposed to go into a story. Objectivity, fairness and giving both sides an equal chance to explain themselves is what is supposed to happen, but what passes for reporting today makes me cringe. Everyone knows that there is no such thing as fair and balanced journalism, despite what Fox News likes to say. Every media outlet has its stance and goes to great lengths to position a story so readers or viewers are influenced in a certain manner.

I'll site an expample from today's news.

This Associated Press story that ran on While telling a story about people attempting to sneak into the country it fails at any point to mention that what they are doing is illegal. The illegal aliens are called immigrants, migrants and described as being forced to suffer terribly as they sneak across the desert into Arizona. They are no immigrants. Immigrants come into the country legally. They wait years, fill out paperwork and are then, rightly, welcomed into the country. The only person to state that those coming in from Mexico are breaking the law is a border control officer in a quote. One line in a very long story, that is not giving the reader the facts.

The Wall Street Journal's opinion page is spinning the immigration story the same way. However, the Journal only wants illegal aliens in the country so businesses can have access to cheap labor.

I suppose the Journal's reason for backing cheap labor is understandable since it's something its core readership wants. That does not make it right. But why does the AP or CNN gloss over a crimminal act. Would they be so kind in interviewing a Mafia kingpin or group of car thieves? I doubt it. A crime is a crime is a crime. Why ignore the fact with one group of people and not the other?

At some point there will be negative repercussions from this type of reporting. Once the public realizes that nobody right or left of the political center can be trusted to simply tell a story then the game will end.

What is still to be decided is who will pick up the slack. To this professional it will be someone from outside the industry and the medium will be the blogosphere. If someone can put together a true news gathering team that is just interested in the facts they will succeed.


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