All journalists, especially those in a position to reach millions should “first and foremost” be emissaries of the public. As a journalism student who was kicked off of her college newspaper for telling the TRUTH, my thoughts about TRUTH in journalism are of course, jaded. In 34 years since then, I’ve learned many lessons about “the dissemination of information to the masses.” The bottom line is “if we don’t stick up for and protect the TRUTH at all cost, how can we ever evolve as a society?” In today’s world of high-speed technology with unlimited information at our fingertips, it is now more important than ever. Information is power. Let us not forget that information can sway popular opinion, propagandize a nation and initiate wars (as history has taught us). Today there seems to be “50 shades of gray” when addressing the TRUTH as we have 50 million perspectives. Sometimes the TRUTH hurts us or others… sometimes the TRUTH is not what we want to hear… sometimes withholding a small TRUTH may help a larger TRUTH be seen with more clarity, thus we can be caught in a moral dilemma. But if we do not uphold the TRUTH against all odds, then all else becomes meaningless. There is much TRUTH to the proverbial saying “what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” And just as important, how will we then be able to write history? (the irony here being our history books are filled with half-truths and falsehoods). In the end, the TRUTH is the most precious gift that we can leave for our children.
A true journalist is only a vessel. When journalists rise to a position of celebrity, it’s hard not to let their egos interrupt their moral responsibility. Yet so many get swallowed up in that competitive trek in the name of TV ratings. I feel sad for what happened to Brian Williams as I really did like him. That being said, to think no one else in journalism or any other profession has ever embellished their life or work experience is absurd. Whoever
is without the “sin of embellishment” should cast the first stone. It seems more than ever these days that the idea of “things are not always as they appear” rings true. It has become harder and harder to decipher fact from fiction and thus harder to not be drowning in cynicism. I am forever optimistic though, as I believe in the goodness of the human heart. ~ Mick E. ~