Journalistic Integrity and the Lack Thereof….

I first notice the growing bias in “Journalism” in the 1970s. I noticed that majority of my friends majoring in Journalism were Liberals. Those who were not ardently Liberal were more interested in Sports than News or Politics. I also noticed that many people majoring in Journalism would have been better suited in other… more artistic… endeavors because they often seemed to be more interested in expressing THEIR strongly held opinions than accurately reporting what was happening in an non-partisan and unbiased way. Their desire was to change the world by making the news. They often sought to BE the news rather than report the news. Those who sought higher profile jobs tended to be more egotistical.

Obviously… that demographic inevitably led to Journalism being highly skewed towards Liberal Progressive reporters and presenters… which really shouldn’t be an issue…. And WAS not an issue… as long as Journalistic Integrity was maintained….

Now… historically speaking… Journalistic Integrity is a relatively new concept… and largely grounded in American ideals of fair play…. In Europe newspapers were for profit businesses or run by a particular political party expressing a very slanted viewpoint. The Communists and Socialists imported that ideology to America early in the Labor Movement here. But by the 1950s and 1960s the idea of Professional Journalism and Journalistic integrity were taking hold. The idea that just reporting what the government spoon-fed reporters was likely propaganda. Certainly the clearly factitious Vietnam casualty figures quoted every night by the major networks reinforced that perception. Watergate was probably the high water mark for Professional Journalism in America, because that gave Liberal Journalist the opportunity to attack Conservative Republicans dogmatically and as vehemently as they desired and still maintain their integrity because what Nixon did was both illegal and immoral.

Professional Journalists realized that standards for Journalistic Integrity needed to be developed and implement in order to develop credibility. One of expressions of those sentiments is the Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics: http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp. Participation is voluntary.

Here are some quotes from the Code of Ethics:

“Deliberate distortion is never permissible.”

“The public is entitled to as much information as possible on the sources reliability.”

“Always question sources motives before promising anonymity.”

“Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.”

“Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.”

“Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.” (Alexandra Pelosi’s film about Mississippi on Maher’s Political Incorrect fails here.)

“Refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.” (Many Liberal Progressives and Conservatives in the media have compromised their Journalistic Integrity by this criteria. Look at many of Obama’s recent appointees in particular. Buchanan on the Right, but his speech-writing for Reagan was a long time ago.)

“Deny favored treatment to advertisers and special interests and resist their pressure to influence news coverage.”

“Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.’

“Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.”

“Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.”

“Abide by the same high standards to which they hold others.”

Very little “news” presented in the American Mainstream Media fits these criteria for Ethics. “News” organizations shape what they present both by withholding information that does not support their political agenda and by manipulating and skewing what they report by cutting quotes down to soundbites presented out of context for effect. Such actions are examples of Extreme Prejudice and are the antithesis of Journalistic Integrity. Presenting opinion as though it were fact is also unethical. Opinion pieces should be clearly labelled as opinion. Neither Fox News nor any of the various Liberal Media do a very good job of any of this….

But… there is an even more outlandish and unethical move towards propaganda that has recently been added to arsenal of yellow journalism: preventing the opponent from airing their side of the story. I am not talking about simply not covering events that may be embarrassing or detrimental to the political campaign of the party you support, allowing the subject to be changed, or even intentionally intervening in a Presidential Debate with partisan disinformation when your candidate is struggling….

I’m talking about abusing copyright laws to shut up bad press that has been released by the demand of a legitimate judicial decision….

I’m talking about this: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/12/19/phony-copyright-claims-exploit-holes-in-u-s–internet-law.html.

I believe people have the right to speak the truth. They have the responsibility to be honest. The courts are the way to mediate between conflicting opinions. The decisions of the court need to be respected. Circumventing the decisions of the court through asserting bogus copyright claims is illegal, immoral and unethical and should have serious repercussions when Fascists regimes do such things… including our own…. Ecuador invested a lot of money (probably millions of dollars) in an advertizing campaign using American Liberal Progressive operatives to spread disinformation and attack an international company in order to extort money from them. At the same time, they were paying judges and politician and others to improve their case. And… they have it all filmed as a documentary entitled “Crude”. Unfortunately, the documentary film makers also documented the political graft and corruption in the out-takes be displayed, which the Ecuadoran government is now paying political operatives to illegal remove from the internet through false copyright claims. That seems to be a growing business, as is using threats and intimidation to prevent political and religious opponents from expressing their dissenting opinions.

That’s what A&E did and is doing with Duck Dynasty. That is what’s happening in America with the Theory of Evolution being used to enshrine Secular Humanism in our schools and the minds of our children.

I support teaching Evolution in schools. Evolution has scientific credibility. I do not support the Theory of Evolution because it is speculation. Indoctrination. Either teach just the facts, or teach ALL viable alternatives. Stop suppressing other beliefs in order to proselytize one religion. I know it started with Clarence Darrow and Williams Jennings Bryant and the Scopes Monkey Trial. I understand that the Christian Conservatives were in the wrong, and I admit that if I had been around at that time, I may well have been on their bandwagon. But that was then and this is now and all that is nothing more than specious speculation. I don’t mind taking religion out of schools and completely separating Church and State, but if we are going to do that, we need to remove Secular Humanism and all other religions that claim not to be religions, too. And we need to allow ALL Americans to put up signs supporting their beliefs. Then we need to decide whether or not to accept attacks on other religions through mockery and other means….

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