News or Views?

by Roger Pynn

Now here’s an essay on the state and fate of the news media worth reading if you care to see how confused our world has become.

There’s a statement at the end about the difference between fact and fantasy I had to read and re-read, asking myself “does the writer really remember the tenets of journalism … or know the difference between reportage and opinion?”

“The world will not be a better place when these fact-based news organizations die. We will be propelled into a culture where facts and opinions will be interchangeable, where lies will become true, and where fantasy will be peddled as news. I will lament the loss of traditional news. It will unmoor us from reality. The tragedy is that the moral void of the news business contributed as much to its own annihilation as the protofascists who feed on its carcass.”

The writer begins another paragraph with the words “Real reporting, grounded in a commitment to justice and empathy…” but I’ll be damned if any journalism teacher I ever had urged me to make such a pledge. My job as a reporter was to seek out information and report it … without getting myself emotionally involved.

To suggest that objectivity killed the news is like suggesting that the practice of medicine is responsible for death because some people die in surgery.

There’s too much crap parading as news today that doesn’t deserve to be called journalism.

Unfortunately, many practitioners in newsrooms today are so engaged with proponents on one side or opponents on the other that they fail to report on the issue and instead write to beat readers into submission on behalf of the side with which they are either intellectually or emotionally aligned.

That’s what killed news.

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