Monday, September 04, 2006

Stop Telling Me What To Think

I am getting heartily sick of newspapers trying to determine what I should read, and more significantly, what I should feel about an issue or story. It seems that more and more, reporters often refuse to offer their judgment about matters of fact, but they do offer their judgment about the potential political effects of events and actions. An essay by Jamison Foser includes the following:

"This is completely backwards.

Consumers of news lack the time, expertise, and, in many cases, ability to determine which of two contradictory statements by competing political figures is true. They often lack the resources to determine if, for example, President Bush's claim to have "delivered" on the promises he made in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is true. That's where news organisations should -- but, with depressing frequency, have not -- come in. They have -- or should have -- the expertise and the time to assess those claims, and to report the facts. That's what readers, viewers, and listeners need. That's what journalism should be all about.

On the other hand, as consumers of news, we don't need journalists telling us what the "political impact" of something is going to be; how it will "play at the polls." It's our job to decide that. It's our job to decide who we'll vote for and why; how we'll assess the parties' competing agendas and approaches to the problems we face.

Instead of telling us how they think we'll react, we need journalists to give us the information upon which we can make an informed decision. To tell us the facts, and the truth, and the relevant context. Then we'll tell them the political impact."

The whole article is well worth a read.

For me, I want to be able to have all I need to make my own mind up. Report the facts, and let me decide. I think I'm adult enough to recognise fact from fiction.

1 comment:

sandegaye said...

How I wish the rest of the world felt that way.. instead of being fed the pablum of 'what we need to know'. Churches here even tell us how to vote!
There's a whole new meaning to 'ignorant masses' these days.