Monday, October 31, 2016
Journalists Should Always Tell The Truth
Fact-checking and politics.
Politics is an area I have personally never given too much of time to, for the simple reason being that I don't like how much lying, manipulation, and corruption goes on in that industry. Especially with the election just a little more than a week away, news organizations have taken everything the two candidates have said and made a strong effort to fact-check what both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have said separately and to each other during the debates.
To me, it seems like there is always a distrust of most, if not all, politicians to begin with, and that seemingly has only intensified with this year's presidential election. Between the lies and vulgar comments Trump has made and seemingly countless contradictions Clinton has made on her policies, the American public is not sure what to believe anymore.
When Trump tried to make it look like he had never said current President Barack Obama wasn't born in the United States, the New York Times ran an article that proved that Trump was not only lying, he had said it several times during Obama's time in office. This, in my opinion, was the best thing to do because it gave the public what it deserves- the truth.
Up until the last few months of this election, I had really no clue that fact-checking was used to such an extent. It was pretty neat to learn about how fast and how deep these fact-checkers go in providing the truth to us Americans when people, such as politicians, don't want to tell the entire truth. And while fact-checking seems like the best way to go about dealing with politician's lies, it isn't always perfect. Even with the code of principles that are set up and in place to make sure nothing goes wrong, things sometimes still go wrong and false information makes its way through the internet.
Reporting the truth.
One of the first things that appears on the SPJ code of ethics is the phrase "seek the truth and report it," and this should be practiced 100 percent of the time, by all members of the media. Whether it is reporting vulgar and obscene comments that Trump made years ago, or reporting on the emails that Hillary covered up, it should all be reported on fairly and truthfully. By covering up information in this election, it is only doing a disservice to the American people by not providing them with the proper context.
And while it should be the case that all news outlets report the truth and not skew their information one way or another, it is pretty well-known that certain news outlets and journalists sometimes tend to favor one side. This breakdown of all the major news outlets and their viewership tells a pretty in-depth tale about who watches which program and who reads which website and newspaper.
News outlets do view these demographics, and they like to see who views their content, so if they see one side is favoring their content, they might, even if ever so slightly, change their approach to appease that specific audience.
No matter what kind of heat or backlash an outlet or a journalist may get from reporting the truth, it is best that they always report the truth because it is better to report something that is true and take the heat from that, then hide or misreport information and have that come back to bite you later on in your career.