By Bruce E. Mowday
Where has the news gone?
A more imperative question exists. Where has the journalists gone? There was a time not so long ago – maybe two decades or so – when Americans could read a newspaper or turn on a television newscast and be confident that what was being reported was scrupulously researched and presented in a fair and unbiased manner.
Editors closely questioned reporters on sources and carefully reviewed the validity of facts presented in stories before publishing. Did the reporter have multiple reliable sources? Were the sources willing to be named in the stories? Unnamed sources were always viewed as questionable. Did everyone involved on all sides of an issue have a chance to voice their side of a story? Woe be to the reporter who was lazy or inept in gathering the facts.
They wouldn’t last long in a newsroom. I know. I worked on the Daily Local News in West Chester for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. Accuracy and integrity were demanded of journalists.
When giving a public presentation on reporters, I used to say there were three types. Most sincerely tried to report fair and balanced stories. Some tried to twist facts to win journalistic prizes and a few wrote only to advance their own personal agenda. Sadly, by reading and listening to today’s journalists, a vast majority of them now fall into the latter two categories.
The zenith of reporting might have been during Watergate. Woodward and Bernstein went to great lengths to verify information received from their sources. The demise of reliable reporting began with the establishment of the cable news networks’ demanding 24-hours a day titillating revelations.
Gathering and reporting solid news stories take time. Social media and cable networks demand fresh information – right or wrong – every second of every day. Accuracy has given way to immediacy. The result was been a flood of inaccurate, misleading and downright wrong stories, fake news if you like.
Many news organizations today are propaganda machines that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. Sadly for America, most citizens can’t tell the difference between satirists, pseudo experts and propagandists and real news. Americans tend to believe stories that either fit their own personal belief or they are so naïve that they take as gospel anything that is printed or said. Those only getting information from once news source are greatly misled.
Finding out what is really going on in our neighborhood, our country and the world is difficult, maybe impossible, and certainly takes time and effort.
For years I’ve started each morning by reviewing many new sources from the left and right in America and foreign news organizations from across the world. I don’t totally trust any of them but by reading many varied accounts of issues, I feel a somewhat better understanding of what is taking place in our world.
I quickly became aware that Americans won’t know of vital world issues but just paying attention to news organizations originating in the United States. Important stories are not reported or under reported. As an example, I became appalled by the lack of reporting on Christian genocide taking place in many areas of the world.
For the sake of the nation, we need a better informed public. The nation is deeply divided and a large factor in the divide is the demise of journalism and the continual drumbeat of propaganda.
Bruce Mowday is an award winning journalist and author who has written extensively on history, business, sports and true crime. He turned his research on Christian genocide into a Chester County murder mystery First Date Homicides that is about 70 percent true. Information about Mowday and his books can be found at www.mowday.com.)