Sloppy Journalism


cjones04072015

I am always amused when conservatives criticize the media. They criticize it for being biased toward the left and being inaccurate. Meanwhile they’re all fans of Fox News, The Daily Caller, Breitbart, The Blaze, etc., and they share stories from these sources all over social media. It seems a conservative’s answer for biased media is more biased media. I’m also intrigued by conservatives in the media who complain about the liberal media, forgetting that they’re conservatives in the media. I’m especially puzzled when conservative journalists exhibit a lack of knowledge of how news organizations operate.

You can point out to right wingers that their sources are extremely flawed, much more so than the “Lame Stream Media.” It just goes over their heads. Conservatives only spot bad journalism from the main stream media, after it’s been pointed out to them. I have had conservatives scold me for citing a story from Media Matters, Politifact and Snopes then back up their argument with a link to the Daily Caller. Irony, hypocrisy, facts, and humor are not conservatives strong points. These are the same people who want to hear foreign policy advice from Dick Cheney.
Rolling Stone Magazine messed up (not the band. They mess up every night and people pay thousands of dollars to hear it). What the magazine did was commit errors you learn to avoid in journalism 101. You don’t take a source’s information on blind faith. You make phone calls and check sources. It is amazing they put so much time, detail, attention, coverage, and promotion into such a flawed story. The rest of the media wasn’t wrong on the story as they were reporting stories on a story.
The biggest tragedy in this isn’t as much a journalism tragedy as it is a human tragedy. Rape is still a serious issue among fraternities in America and now there’s more attention to a sloppy story. This does not mean we can now ignore the crisis on American college campuses. Not only will women be even more afraid to report rape, news outlets will be more hesitant to write about it.
A lot of journalists are amazed Rolling Stone’s reporter hasn’t been fired. I don’t think she should be fired. I think a punishment of sort should be dealt out but her career shouldn’t be sacrificed. She didn’t make anything up. She didn’t lie. Her source lied. Her greatest error was wanting to believe the story to the point that she didn’t check if the facts were true. That happens everyday in journalism and on national platforms.
How many times has Fox News given a platform to someone who was lying or aired heavily edited videos that present information as they want it digested? How many times has the still employed Bill O’Reilly made something up? Ever notice that Bill’s lie are always where he’s the hero of the situation?
I don’t even want to talk about how often those other partisan sites are wrong because that’s almost a daily thing.
I don’t just blame these “news” sources. I blame consumers. Fox News is number one among viewers by a wide margin. They’re not number one because they’re “fair and balanced”, accurate or the best source for information. They’re number one because most news viewers want to be told what they want to hear.
The best way to start to repair this (for TV news) is to fire everyone who’s a politician. Stop paying people to be on your network who are activists or politicians. That goes for MSNBC too. They need to fire Al Sharpton. Not because he’s a “race baiter” as conservatives say. They need to fire him because he’s a political activist and maybe because he’s also really bad as a news host. He’s not intelligent enough to deliver news, interview people and he shouts everything. While MSNBC is at it they should fire Ed Schultz. Not so much because he’s an activist but just because I don’t like that guy. Since I’m on the subject I’m going to point out to the ignorant that MSNBC is only the liberal network at night. Seriously. Go watch Morning Joe.
Rolling Stone has a history of great writing and breaking stories. They just stepped all over their reputation. They need to take extra steps to restore their integrity and trust among their readers. They need to give their writer the same opportunity, maybe with baby steps. Every news organization will make mistakes. It’s how they respond after the truth comes out that’s very important to whether we can continue to trust them. Do they give a correction and find the source of the errors or do they blame those that point out the errors and remain silent?
A lot of consumers don’t care, depending upon their source.
Accountability is demanded more from liberal and mainstream news outlets. Facts have a pesky way of being biased toward the left.
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