“All of us who professionally use the mass media are the shapers of society. We can vulgerize that society. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it onto a higher level. ” – William Bembech
“The media’s power is frail. Without the people’s support, it can be shut off with the ease of turning a light switch. ” – Corazon Aquino
I just finished reading a story about how journalists have been targeted by both police and protesters as they tried to report on the news surrounding the backlash following the murder of George Floyd and so many others. I guess the war on media initiated and pounded home by the so-called “leader of the free world” has come home to roost. The sad thing is, even if the Donald loses the election (and I fervently hope he does), the repercussions will continue for years into the future. The thing is it is this same media that helps protect the freedoms we all enjoy. That is not to say there are no sensationalists in the media – of course there are. And, this is not to say that media is squeaky clean or completely innocent of some of the charges against them. No business or industry is without its shadow side. However, without media how would the public ever know the real story? Unlike social media, credible journalists, for the most part, are held to very strict rules regarding reporting on stories. They have to fact check. They also have to tell both sides of any story, and hopefully without their own biases coloring it.
However, the story I just read reports on injuries suffered by journalists over this past weekend. Stories of journalists being pepper sprayed; of a journalist who is now blind in one eye after being struck by a rubber bullet shot by police; of another being shot in the throat by another officer. As if that is not enough, protestors are also attacking the men and women whose job it is to tell their story.
Most journalists work very hard and long hours for very little pay. Why would they do that, you may ask. Perhaps it is because they believe in democracy, in the right of the public to know what politicians and captains of industry are doing that is helpful, or not, as the case may be.
In recent conversations with family members and friends the point has been made that media is sensationalizing the story. Are they? And why? It’s true that bad news sells. We are all fascinated by the drama that human beings become entangled with. And we want to know what’s happening in our world. And, we want to trust that what we are reading or watching is true, and a lot of that depends upon credible journalists doing their job. Unfortunately, too often, telling the story comes at a great cost, sometimes the very life of the journalist is the price paid.
“Journalism will kill you, but it will keep you alive while you’re at it.” – Horace Greeley