What has happened to our Media?

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What has happened to our Media?

In 2017 I witnessed a disturbing continuing trend in the media, which appears to be becoming more extreme. The mainstream media continue with blatant bias and manipulation of information all in the name of news, with no accountability.

In the place where I live there is one main newspaper. During a national election earlier this year, while shopping, I noticed that on the front page of this newspaper was an advert for a political party…. on the front page! It was cleverly designed to appear like a news article so if you did not look carefully you could easily be tricked into thinking it was a genuine journalistic article.

In the lead up to the same general election most of the newspapers in the country continuously attacked and undermined the leader of one of the major political parties, taking and presenting an obviously biased and highly politicised view. So extreme was this behaviour that it did not go unnoticed and research was even done to examine this phenomenon.[1]

This report concluded ‘most newspapers systematically vilified the leader of the biggest opposition party, assassinating his character, ridiculing his personality and delegitimising his ideas and politics.’ This report went on to say that this level of media interference in the political process was unprecedented and was a threat to democracy itself.

These examples for me expose the lack of respect, disregard and contempt that the mainstream media have for the population and the agendas and motivations of those that own and run the major media organisations and the level of influence they have on our daily lives.

Journalist Walter Williams wrote a code of ethics in 1908 known as the Journalist’s Creed, a copy of which still stands as a bronze plaque at the National Press Club in Washington DC. A section of this Creed is here below:

The Journalist’s Creed[2]

“I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.

I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best – and best deserves success – fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world."


I am not sure how many journalists are even aware of this creed or whether it forms part of their training or education. Despite the fact the above creed is not perfect, clearly there was an original intention with journalism at some time to report the news in an unbiased way and to be a reliable, trusted source of information about the facts of what happens in our world. There is also a great sense of service to humanity in this code and an understanding of the power media can have in uniting humanity into a common purpose.

Honest Information about the realities of human life and the words used to convey this information are important to us as a society so we can get our act together and work together to end many of the problems and issues our world and planet currently face.

So it is very interesting to read the Journalist’s Creed and honestly view the media we have today against this standard of practice.

Can we honestly say we have a media that unites and serves humanity today?

Does our mainstream media today really serve the public, or themselves?

It appears these days that a large proportion of the mainstream media deliberately blurs the lines between fact and fiction so much that it is difficult to trust or rely on anything they produce. As a population we have apparently given them a license to lie to us and to be largely unaccountable for these lies.

The recent referendum in the UK on leaving the EU was another classic example. The media – in collaboration with certain politicians who had a specific agenda – conspired to produce a lot of propaganda in the lead up to the referendum that after the referendum was proven to be completely false and fabricated. In a nutshell, the public were fed complete lies to influence the result.

The media maintains and benefits from a privileged position of being the conveyor of news but abuses this power and position by spinning and creating whatever stories they want to, or that suit their own agenda, without any real accountability.

It is a very dangerous and insidious thing that has occurred where the written and TV media industries can portray themselves as reliable and trustworthy sources of information, yet produce information that is clearly not factual or unbiased.

Power comes with responsibility and it seems that large sections of the mainstream media are wielding power without responsibility or accountability.

Journalism is a noble profession and I have no doubt that there are many noble journalists still out there holding true to the purpose of true journalism. However mainstream journalism has been degraded into something with far less integrity that only serves the journalist producing it and ultimately the people who own the media empires, rather than the public. Many journalists, despite their best intentions when going into the profession, end up being seduced and moulded by the system itself and are heavily censored and controlled themselves by their media organisations and ultimately the media barons who control these organisations. Journalists (like any of us) are susceptible to this when they place personal ambition, security and career progression ahead of truth.

However we cannot simply blame the media for this situation. All of us, the general population, the consumers of what the media produce, are also responsible for this situation. We are asking the media to lie to us simply because we are not demanding that they tell us the truth. We love to complain about the state of the world, and media that report on it, but ignore our own contribution to the degradation of society. We do not want to know the real but sometimes uncomfortable facts about what is happening in human life on this planet, preferring to be entertained, stimulated, distracted and relieved of the tensions and realities of our daily lives. For example, regularly on my phone news app the top three trending stories are usually gossip about celebrities and their private lives, which indicates what kind of news the general public is asking for.

It is simple case of supply and demand, and if the demand were not there, those providing the supply would quickly go out of business.

"We long ago lost our trust in the ‘media’. That is for them, those in the media, to admit and deal with should they care to do so. But what have we, the consumers, done about it? This is the real inquiry not yet pursued. Did we stop buying newspapers and/ or switch off our TV sets etc and demand accuracy and truth, or, have we opted for the usual consolation of substituting truth for comfort, thus using the false to inaccurate stories to fill our days with gossip and comments about others or events so as to avoid our own unresolved issues?"

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings and Revelations II, p 401

We all need to make a stand and start taking more responsibility for what we allow and accept in this world. We need to start discerning what is true and what is not everywhere in our lives, including what is presented to us by our media. If something does not feel true or sit quite right with us, we need to call it out and demand that the media start supporting and serving humanity. The Journalist’s Creed is not perfect but it would be a great start to bringing some decency and respect back into journalism.

The media needs to take an honest look at their own industry and themselves and take more responsibility for the mess they are aiding and abetting in society. There is great potential in our media to be an agent for enlightening, uniting and elevating humanity and isn’t it time we had this realised?

And ultimately we all need to take a look at our own lives and our own personal relationship with honesty and reality. Are we prepared to see exactly what is going on in front and around us in our daily lives? Or do we want to avoid this level of honesty and prefer to be distracted, numbed and escape from reality as long as we can, as much as we can? And at what point are we going take responsibility for the fact that we are demanding a product that is harming us – deepening divisions between us, and burying truth under palatable lies?

References:

  • [i]

    Academic Report on Journalistic Representations of Jeremy Corbyn in the British Press: From Watchdog to Attackdog. http://www.lse.ac.uk/media-and-communications/research/research-projects/representations-of-jeremy-corbyn

  • [ii]

    The Journalist’s Creed https://journalism.missouri.edu/tabbed-content/creed-2/

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AccountabilityMediaCommunicationNewspapersTruth in mediaJournalismMedia reform

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