Oct 18, 2013

Media's Impact on Democracy Focus of Forum

Pravda told Soviet readers news of the world
Journalists from several Madison media news outlets will meet in the Anderson Auditorium (Predolin Hall) at Edgewood College to discuss the changing face of journalism and journalism ethics in a public forum October 21 at 7 PM.

A vital topic indeed.

I read the hard copy of the Wisconsin State Journal every morning and the newspaper is emblematic of the problems in conventional journalism.

Here's some ideas:

Local coverage: Do some. Do more.

Used to be local coverage was the lifeblood of newspapers, but local coverage at least in the State Journal is more likely to be found in Doug Moe's column or the local crime coverage.

Speaking of local crime coverage, don't take police statements at face value, and stop running mug shots of the accused. Cooking police reports and testilying render police statements not credible, whatever crime and allegations the accused faces.

In the Leviathan that is American society (often for the wrong shade of people) too many wrongfully imprisoned individuals get trashed in the paper, with never an apology when proven innocent.

Editors need to understand the difference between neutrality and objectivity.

Neutrality is to take the statements of a Scott Walker, Iron County District Attorney Martin Lipske or a Ted Cruz and report them, uncritically.

Objectivity is to take the statement, hypothesis or spin of our lying politicians for example, and verify their hokum against empirical reality and report the results and draw conclusions. This way news will more closely approximate reality.

One reason politicians like Walker, Lipske and Cruz feel free to lie is they know they will not be held accountable in the news columns by conventional journalism and its stunning lack of standards in using facts, evidence and the imperative to measure stated positions of subjects against reality.

The results, from the 2003 Iraq War Invasion to Scott Walker's appointment of aides embezzling from military veterans, can range from the tragic to the outlandish, with no shame from the party-press  journalists crafting propaganda sheets delivering a make-believe world to its readers who do live in a democracy.

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