Welcome to Liberty Just in Case

Glad you stopped by. Take a look around, and let me know what you think, either through a comment or by email.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Journalism On Parade: Mining for Ratings

I went to bed last night believing there were no survivors. About 1 AM, I got up with some back pains, went down stairs and turned on the TV. Blaring across every cable news outlet was the wonderful news of the 12 miners survival. I went to bed as what was reported to be the first of several ambulances roared past a giddy Anderson Cooper on CNN on it's way to the hospital.

I awoke at 5 this morning to the awful truth. Only one miner was alive. The rest were dead. And at no point had the officials at the mining company said anything else.

The vultures of the morning show set, The Today Show, hurried to interview the families, who were now angry and grief stricken. Expecting the gold of having their loved ones back, they recieved instead the ultimate coal in their stocking of finding they had not been told the truth.

Now the blame game begins. And the MSM is pointing it's collective finger everywhere but where it belongs, at themselves, and their own shoddy journalism. But we should be used to this level of reporting. Remember the hundred thousand dead of New Orleans? The "rapes" and "shootings" at the Superdome? The "dozens of bodies" in a meat locker at the Convention Center?

There are a few in the media accepting blame:
Many editors, at big papers and small, rushed to admit, explain or defend their error, on their Web sites on Wednesday. Sherry Chisenhall, editor of the Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, was on who accepted blame. "If you saw today's printed edition of The Eagle, you saw a front page headline and story that are flat wrong," she wrote. "I'll explain why we (and newspapers across the country) went to press last night with the information we had at the time. But it won't excuse the blunt truth that we violated a basic tenet of journalism today in our printed edition: Report what you know and how you know it."

Scott Libin, a faculty member at the Poynter Institute, wrote today,
"This case reminds us of a lesson we learned, at least in part, from Hurricane Katrina: Even when plausibly reliably sources such as officials pass along information, journalists should press for key details....If we believe that when your mama says she loves you, you should check it out, surely what the mayor or police chief or governor says deserves at least some healthy skepticism and verification. I understand how emotion and adrenaline and deadlines affect performance. That does not excuse us from trying to do better."
I wonder what CNN, MSNBC, FoxNews, and the rest would be saying today if the false story of survivors had hit the blogosphere first? The first rule of journalism is Check your Sources. Then, recheck them. No one in the MSM bothered to do that last night. No one.

At what point do we say enough? At what point do we hold journalism in this country accountable? How many more Katrinas do we have to have? How many more Swift Boats? How many more forged documents? How many more families lifted to the heights, then crushed in their grief by an irresponsible Press? A biased, out of control MSM that cares more about their ideology and their ratings than the truth? How long do we allow this to go on?

No comments:

Post a Comment