CNN and NBC News: Is journalistic integrity dead?

Many journalists believe that Photo: The news networks

WASHINGTON, February 19, 2013 ― The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) has a grand sounding code of ethics that journalists once lived by, and in some cases, died trying to live up to. The truth seekers have gone, the truth tellers are rapidly dying off.

The “news” is little more than political campaign for a particular party. Every subject is skewed and skewered to the point that everything you see hear and read should be taken with the proverbial “grain of salt.”

A recent article on the popular progressive website Politico refers to Obama as a “puppet master”, calling him “a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.” While this states the obvious, they go wrong in their claim that the media is powerless to do anything except parrot White House press releases and accept them as cold hard facts.

Whatever happened to questioning the “facts”? Whatever happened to the power the media used to exercise, but apparently has forgotten still exists?

They haven’t forgotten at all. They simply choose not to exercise it unless it falls in line with the agenda of their shareholders, their sponsors, or in some cases, what they were paid to report or not report, as former CNN correspondent Amber Lyon alleges. An article in a British media outlet, The Guardian, details the funding CNN receives from the government of Bahrain, which just so happened to coincide with an “editorial decision” not to run a documentary Ms. Lyon produced about the brutality and violence the Bahrain government was using against its own citizens.

NBC News has recently been caught doing a lot of creative editing to make stories fall in line with their agenda. Video coverage of a man with an AR-15 at a 2009 rally kept to the story of gun-toting white racists, but the camera was kept zoomed in to exclude almost all but the rifle, including any of the skin of the man carrying it. Commentators discussed the racial elements of the second amendment rally, referring to the protestors as a “bunch of white people with guns.” Not long after the story was aired, the black man who was filmed carrying the AR-15 publicly denounced the “not quite a lie” coverage.

This same news network last year edited a 911 call from George Zimmerman before he shot Treyvon Martin. He told the operator that he saw in intruder who looked “like he’s up to no good.” The operator asked whether the intruder was “white, black, or Latino?” Zimmerman answered, “He looks black.” NBC aired that exchange without the operator’s question, thus rendering Zimmerman’s comment, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good … He looks black.”

NBC commentators again went on at length about the racial implications of the event, and their edited tape emphasized that element. When the unedited tape came out, NBC fired a “senior producer,” but still stands by their claim that the edit was “a mistake and not a deliberate act to misrepresent the phone call.”

This same network spent a lot of time editing Texas Governor Rick Perry at a GOP primary speech in which, while talking about the economy, he mentioned the very real debt problem: “that big, black cloud hanging over America, that debt that is so monstrous … “ MSNBC cut in after “America” with, “that big black cloud he is talking about is Barack Obama.”

NBC is the number one news network in the country.

A recent headline and subsequent article claimed, “Sen. Paul: Voters want to round up Immigrants.” The word “don’t” was omitted from the transcript of a Sunday talk show the senator appeared on. While this was obviously a mistake and resulted in a hasty “kill order” from AP, Politico was quick to capitalize on the gaffe, calling it the “retraction of the year.”

The unedited, uncorrected, un-killed story is still all over the internet. It would not be surprising to find out there are mass printings of it in Spanish just in case a non-English speaking voter hadn’t heard about it yet. Would this story have run without double checking what was said had it been president Obama who was being misquoted?

Probably not.

Fox News is being branded by the left as a network of “right wing extremists.” Since when does daring to question the policies and motivations of government define extremism?

It used to define journalism.


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Mike Shortridge

Mike is a former Marine who served in the Middle East. He is disgusted with both the Republican and Democratic parties, seeing them as two heads of the same beast. He writes from the conservative perspective, with a focus on making complex subjects easy to understand.

 

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