Monday, September 19, 2016

To Lie or Not to Lie...

Blake Schenerlein

It’s easier to lie than to tell the truth, especially when it comes to journalism. You have deadlines, you need quotes, you snapped a neat picture, but it’s not exactly what you’re looking for.

In this day and age, transforming what you have into what you need is only a couple clicks away. Technology is the easy out for any unethical journalist that decides taking a short cut is how they are going to get by in this business, but if you want any credibility, keeping your story truthful is how you will become successful.

Bob Garfield called out KFC in Ad Age due to their dishonest advertising. The well-known fried chicken chain has time and time again attempted to sell their food to consumers and write it off as “healthy.” Many advertisements encourage families to eat there every night, pushing their convenience factor.
                                                   Old KFC advertisement, emphasizing the convenience of their chain.

I, as an indulgent consumer, would probably take this advertisement as a joke. I know for a fact that what I’m eating is terrible for me; I wouldn’t have gone to KFC for anything else, but for some consumers, what they see is what they believe, making KFC a fraud.

This is an aspect of journalism that I love to see. We are here to keep people in check, whether it’s political, educational or as a public service announcement. Keeping advertisers honest is a beautiful truth that journalists are entitled to, and a trend that will exist as long as dishonest journalism and advertising do.

Calling out companies for their lack of truthfulness is seen as a public service. A main journalistic purpose is to deliver the truth to the public, whatever it may be and whomever it may hurt. This is where a line is commonly drawn, how far is too far?

For instance, The New York Times wrote an article on Amazon, the premier online shopping company, revealing the truth happening in their workplace. According to the article, Amazon works as a cutthroat battlefield, where sabotage and deception are encouraged, and only the strong-willed survive.

An Amazon employee, Nick Ciubotariu, combated this portrayal.  “I’m not going to stand idly by as a horribly misinformed piece of “journalism” slanders my company in public without merit,” he said in his rebuttal that he posted on LinkedIn.

This back and forth is an aspect of journalism that shows there can be different truths and experiences from different sides. These multiple perspectives can give audiences all parts of a story, and with that they can make judgment calls, and proceed to live however they choose.

In conclusion, tell the truth. Tell your truth and be able to back it up when confronted. There will always be someone right behind you, waiting for you to fail, and if you so, you will be found out. If you want to be seen as a trustworthy journalist in this world of constant temptation to stray from the story, don’t stray. Keep your biases under control and always put your best foot forward.

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