The situation at CBS News and its flawed story on President Bush’s National Guard service provide yet another reminder that journalism has wandered far from its professional ideals.
Conspiracy theories aside, the critical factors behind this mess are sloppy work and a rush to get a story first — rather than get it right.
Competitive pressure in the media is intense, but much of it is driven by an unquenchable demand for higher ratings and a fatter bottom line return, rather than serving the public interest. And this situation is both a shame and a danger.
It is unfortunate that the rich history and high standards associated with CBS News are now irrevocably tarnished by this latest incident. But of far greater concern is the loss of trust.
Dubious online sources — where nonsense passes as news — to the perceived biases of CNN and Fox News are additional threats to the often complicated truth which journalists have an obligation to cover, share and explain.
When the people who watch or listen to the news or when readers of newspapers and magazines lose faith in these sources one of the underpinnings of democracy is lost.
All of us, journalists and public alike, must demand that our nation’s media organizations do a much better job of reporting with objectivity, clarity, hard work and honesty.
Ratings be damned, because the stakes are too high to do otherwise.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info