By Sam Madden
(Additional Resource added 4/4/2021, Dallas Morning News)
Long gone are the days of Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and famous Journalists such as Semar M. Hersh and Walter Lippman, just to name a few.
In the not so distant past we use to have competition between media and news outlets on who would get the story first and get it right with objective reporting. That is no longer the case in most instances. Today we have what is called “Advocate Journalism.” This is actually being taught in our Universities in Journalism classes.
Journalists are not suppose to be advocates or activists. They are to report what is happening in our local communities, national and worldwide with objectivity and factual reporting. The advocating and activism is then left to the citizens and non-profits through their own initiatives of what is actually happening based on the information provided.
In 2003 a movie came out based on a real life story titled, Shattered Glass. It is about the journalist Stephen Glass who created stories in order to make himself look good and further his career. He worked at The New Republic. The magazine which at one time was weekly had been founded in 1914 and at it’s height was considered to be the political go to magazine for the elite.
The trailer for the movie sets the tone of what Journalism should be. It is about facts, competition to get the story not only first but also right among journalists. And peer review of calling out fellow journalists when they get it wrong and are sloppy. Which obviously we don’t see today for the most part. Though there are small pockets of honest non-partisan fact based journalism but it is on the local level not on the national level.
The trailer starts out with the phrase: “In 1998 what we thought we knew, changed forever.” That is definitely so, and has only gotten worse with social media. The end of the trailer is the phrase, “Read between the lies.”
After the movie came out Paula Zhan of CNN at the time interviewed the real Stephen Glass and it was found out that at least 27 of the 41 pieces written by Glass were either totally or partially false.
Fast forward to today and we see things have only gotten worse in the journalistic field. Everyone jumped on the bandwagon of the Russian Collusion Hoax. But hardly any journalist would dig into the facts, and all over CNN, MSNBC, The Today Show, The Washington Post and numerous other outlets all they did was to let their biases against Trump believe this hoax without digging into the facts.
Representative Devin Nunes went public with what he found out, but was totally discarded and discredited by the mainstream media. Even though he was correct all along.
The true story of how this Russian Collusion Hoax came to be and the unlawful wiring tapping and FISA warrants that were issued are all displayed in the documentary The Plot Against Trump which debuted last year on Amazon Prime, based on the book written by investigative reporter Lee Smith which came out on October 29, 2019.
Why wasn’t this exposed earlier? Where are the real Journalists that could have nailed this story and put it in the coffin where it belonged? As stated in the documentary all one had to do was follow the money. The Steele Dossier was a total fabrication, but journalists took it as gospel truth without even looking into how it came to be, where the trail was, never did any investigative reporting to verify what was in it. All because of their disdain for Trump.
Personal feelings regarding an individual, organization, institution, etc. should never ever come into play for a journalist. That is for commentaries and op-ed writers. The people of the United States deserve a better Free Press, far better than what we see today. But unfortunately that appears to be a distant dream at this point.
Sam Madden is a Co-Director for the Center For Pluralism in Washington, D.C. The Center For Pluralism is a 501(c)3 organization. For further information please visit our website at https://centerforpluralism.com/
And if you would like to make a tax deductible contribution please visit: https://centerforpluralism.com/donate/
Additional Writings by Sam Madden