Last week’s Viewpoints section includes a letter asking, “Where’s the balance?” The author rightfully takes on the media, invoking the radical contrast between CNN and Fox reporting. Finding balance, however, isn’t what one need seek by consuming any news outlet’s reporting.
Journalism, by definition, is reporting facts. Finding the evidence that constitutes an ultimate truth. Of course, Fox news doesn’t practice actual journalism. But neither does CNN. Or MSNBC. Or CBS, ABC or NBC national newscasts. In that regard, they are all in a state of equilibrium.
Dogged journalism is not their modus operandi. It’s ratings. If you want news that is seeking evidence to get facts confirmed, one must dive deeper into the recesses of mass media. The surface is littered with glittered hype.
Remember (if you can) when two reporters from the Washington Post exposed the Watergate scandal that brought down the Nixon administration? That was about covering up a bungled break-in at the Watergate Hotel. Sounds so quaint a matter compared to the political carnage resulting from a corporate news media that has long since abdicated journalism’s goal of truth-seeking.
The lack of “balance” bemoaned by the aforementioned letter to WJ was on full display when virtually every major print and electronic news outlet was on board with the lie-infested justification to invade Iraq in 2003. The real facts of that matter were known then. But the Big Lie prevailed. Only because journalism allowed it to be repetitively spoken, unchallenged.
We have a new Big Lie littering the political landscape right now. And it’s so blatant that the term itself is invoked by Big Media, matter-of-fact-ly. Better late than never, I suppose. But as someone said long ago, “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.” Whoever authored that saying wouldn’t want to be around the so-called “news” these days.
Joseph Harrington, Oak Park