Thought Leadership rhetorical question of the day: Has the so-called “Fourth Estate” completely lost its ethical compass when it comes to reporting?
Let the latest events in Gaza be the guide to irresponsible journalism. Let it also inspire corporate advertisers to think hard about which networks they are willing to enrich.
While blogging and tweeting has necessarily transformed the manner in which “news” (as well as corporate brand messaging) is distributed, this frequent blogger and consummate consumer of all kinds of news is compelled to proffer the notion that many members of the 4th Estate–including those who claim to run “global news organizations” have caused this viewer to turn the channel at every chance, and go straight to the cartoon network. There is simply no credibility and no integrity remaining when so-called journalists prefer to fire first via Twitter, the new weapon of fact destruction–which we hereby claim credit for labeling “WFDs.”
The fact that news organizations such as CNN, NBC, ABC, along with leading print publications and their respective cable and online platforms have succumbed to reporting before fact checking is hardly news to anyone. That said, when CNN and NBC (among others) continuously flash “breaking news update” across their screens–and distill nonsense headlines and out of context images attributed to their embedded reporters, who are tweeting from the streets of Gaza with completely undocumented, unverified and uncorroborated statements such as “Israeli military have just bombed a UN school killing scores of children”…or “..Israeli forces are now indiscriminately firing upon civilian sites, including hospitals and religious centers in Gaza..we can see and hear the bombs landing from where we are in our hotel…” …that’s the time when we can all kiss goodbye the concept of fair and balanced reporting….
Before ranting further, this writer needs to make it clear: There is no question that the Palestinian people deserve and are entitled to a country they can call their own, and one that allows them to peaceably pursue a democratic existence…one that allows its citizens to express their opinions freely (but peacefully), to pursue trade with other law abiding governments, and one that fosters education and the opportunity to pursue opportunities.
The leaders of Israel, whether they are opposing political leaders from different parties or military leaders from various divisions all agree on this basic principal. Anyone who thinks otherwise has simply failed to pay attention to the consistent message and consistent actions taken by Israel’s government towards supporting a pro-Palestinian initiative. This is not to suggest that Israel supports a role that Hamas could play in any such initiative. Hamas, whose ancestors originated in the Syrian city of Hama and were almost completely wiped out by the prior Syrian president in retaliation against the so-called Islamic Brotherood, has publicly decried the Jewish State and has consistently championed the destruction of Israel…and of course, any country that supports Israel’s right to exist.
The challenge faced by many Palestinians in Gaza is the lack of any [democratic] governmental foundation, lack of real education, lack of resources, as well as the fact that factions within the Islamic community have been fighting each other for hundreds of years. Arab nations are notorious for heavy-handed dictators, and truth be told, Western nations, as well as Russia have otherwise supported those governments simply because those heavy hands have kept the storm of Islamic fundamentalism aka terrorism, from knocking down every house and hut in their respective countries. For those who believe the Arab Spring was a saving grace for those seeking democracy, stare at any headline from almost any news outlet and you’ll be reminded that each of those countries are suffering from greater infighting, greater violence..all of which can be attributed to groups such as Hamas–who only know from terror tactics. There is a solution to all of this..albeit collectively smart minds who advocate a peaceful resolution in which everyone could live as neighbors without fear of being bombed at a moment’s notice have been unable to introduce the notion of reason to a discussion with people who have consistently proven they have no desire to be reasonable.
To clarify, after hours in which both CNN and NBC affiliates continued to claim that Israel was responsible for firing missiles into the UN compound this past weekend, it turned out that it wasn’t really Israeli missiles, but errant missiles launched by members of Hamas. Did CNN or NBC run a correction or apologize for miscasting the reports? Did they acknowledge they had no corroboration as to where those missiles came from and misreported? No.
On the topic of Israeli military “firing indiscriminately”..the exact words tweeted by both CNN and NBC “embedded” reporters, let’s set the record straight: not only are statements such as that completely irresponsible, they are completely false. The reporters are almost as dumb-headed as the millions of viewers who believe that journalists actually check their facts before blasting them in what has become the ubiquitous news media tactic: the “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach.
Shame on them (the news media) for pursuing a race to the “breaking news scoreboard” in order to beat out other networks in the quest to become the most provocative and logically, the most-watched…in turn making them the favorite of corporate advertisers. Now that I’ve said that, shame on any advertiser for fueling the madness and underwriting what they thought was responsible news content.