The Gross National Debt

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Freedom to be a fool

Ever heard of James O'Keefe?

Of course you have. You just may not know his name. He is the fellow behind the ACORN hide-the-profits-from-prostitution sting video and the recent National Public Radio video sting.

Ring a bell now?


Now lemme ask you how much you know about the NPR sting video, the ACORN sting and even the video that resulted in Shirley Sherrod getting sacked. Sherrod was the lady who worked for the USDA and was accused of being racist, got fired and when the whole video came out, Sherrod was vindicated and the government which fired her looked even more stupid than usual.

A couple more questions.

What do these videos have in common? While this is a single interrogative, it has multiple answers, so I call it several questions.


Not a journalist.
1) People lost their jobs after these videos aired.

2) These videos were not produced by professional journalists.

3) These videos do not tell the whole story.

4) These videos do not tell the true story.

5) These videos are intentionally heavily reworked to slant the viewpoint presented to favor the political positions and leanings of the person producing the video.

6) These videos take things out of context.

7) Some of these videos are edited in such a way as to have the featured speaker's words twisted to be the actual opposite of what they said. (Rush Limbaugh is an expert at this.)
They're selling. Why are you buying?

Dunno about you, but I call that last bit libel, slander and lying on the part of the video producer.

Lies which are intentional. Deliberate. Done with malice aforethought. Done with the intention to crush the truth, eliminate the facts and harm people.

In professional media organizations, reporters who engage in that kinda behavior and try to pass it off as straight news are given the involuntary opportunity to seek employment elsewhere. (except in cases like the National Enquirer et al).

It's called accountability. Professional journalists have it. Yes, Buck, even Faux News has accountability, just as much as CNN and all other major professional news outlets. The talking head shows are not news programs, they are commentary shows. Commentary, in case you didn't get the memo, is when a person specifically DOES present opinion.

Here's what I don't understand. Major media outlets are not trusted. But people like O'Keefe are hailed as purveyors of the unvarnished truth even AFTER repeated investigative efforts reveal these guys are more interested in lying than providing the truth.

I am really confused.

Maybe the major media outlets give short shrift to the side they don't like, but they don't lie about it and then try to cover it it. In the rare instances this coverup DOES happen (and they are extremely rare), heads roll. Careers are ruined. Those responsible are vilified.

They are not hailed as heroes.

O'Keefe, et al, are hailed as heroes for exposing the truth, which later turns out to be mass distortion, manipulation and lies, and yet they are stilled considered to be reliable.

They have no accountability.

Myself, I favor such communication efforts. I like it. A lot. Such efforts do present things which the major media sometimes overlooks or does not know about. It also provides a different perspective on events.

But be careful. Such "citizen" efforts can be tainted. I ain't say they always are, I am saying the chances exist. You may not be getting all the truth, all the facts and all the relevant sides to the story.

Think about a subject you are REALLY passionate about. Could you go interview the other side and then prepare a story which shows your side and their side with fairness and equality? Can you really do that? Can you do it every day, year after year after year?

Journalists, like me, work to present all sides of the story, whether we like it, agree with it, support it or even want to present that side of the story. I have written many things in my career which I really really really did not want to write. I did it to be fair and balanced.

O'Keefe and those like him are not interested in balanced coverage. They have a viewpoint. They express it. They dig into the subject, typically the opposition, until they can find something to warp to support their own point of view. I still believe and support their right to do this.

I also support your right to listen to it. If you choose to believe it, then I also support your right to be a fool. You have freedom to be a fool in my world. If you choose to be a fool, don't expect me to deliver you from the consequences of your actions.

I do not call what O'Keefe et al do "journalism," because it ain't. Journalism is a search for the truth, an effort to present all the information, intact, unvarnished, in context and let the reader decide. O'Keefe is interested only in pushing his agenda.

Here's another thing which confuses me to no end.

Where do you get the information about media malfeasance?

The media.

On THIS hand people say you can't trust the mainstream media. But when it comes to reporting the bad stuff, the OTHER hand, people take those stories as the Word of God from on high.

Uh, what? Can't trust the media unless the media is showing it can't be trusted?

This message brought to you by The Corporate Media.Otherwise, you'd never know this guy was holding up this poster, eh?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi. I welcome lively debate. Attack the argument. Go after a person in the thread, your comments will not be posted.