It is not a closely held state secret that the media institutions contained within the label mainstream media aren’t paragons of virtue and ethics in journalism. All too often we see examples of stories being portrayed deceptively. The latest iteration is the Megyn Kelly – Alex Jones kerfuffle. I would be disappointed in the intellectual faculties of anyone that reacted with surprise to the revelation that a mainstream journalist cut and edited hours upon hours of footage to distort the intent and context of the conversation. That is par for the course, it is expected. But, the deceptiveness didn’t stop there. Kelly gave verbal assurances to Mr. Jones that the nature of the interview would be completely different. The “leaked” tapes proves this. Additionally NBC used questionable techniques to portray Jones in a negative light without any journalistic reasoning behind it. The use of heatlamps is an example of this. My question then becomes why stoop so low? Don’t you care about your reputation?
Having been interviewed myself once, I know from firsthand experience that what you say to a reporter goes through a game of “telephone” before it becomes stamped in ink. I don’t necessarily oppose this as long as it is done free from any underhanded, subversive motivation. In my case it was for a trade publication with a small circulation, so I’m positive that there weren’t any political motivation behind the distortion over my interview. But when it comes to political topics in the mainstream press, the overarching political agenda of the parent company is ever present.
Distortion of what was said to a journalist is only one tool in the toolbox of lies. We also have “lie by omission”. This could also be called the use of “deceptive context”. We have seen numerous examples of this recently. Mainstream press outlets “conveniently” forget to include relevant facts to their reporting, they might cut bits from reruns of live interviews. The pieces being cut going against the desired narrative of course. CNN is a prime violator of journalistic ethics here.
I’m not familiar with the intricacies of journalistic ethics guidelines in other countries, but I know a little bit about the Norwegian situation. Over here we have some guidelines that most journalists at least claim to go by. Mind you, these guidelines are strictly voluntary, the board adjudicating diputes has no real legal power to prosecute violators. Peder Jensen (also known by his penname Fjordman) recalls numerous examples of his “rights” being violated by journalists following the terror attacks of 22/7. Newspapers would print pieces with damning allegations about him persoonally, without allowing him to comment through a reply. According to the guidelines, they are supposed to give him “the right of reply”. There has also been instances of misrepresentation over what he said to journalists during interviews. As you can imagine, the consequences the journalists had to face were absent.
I wouldn’t have as big of an axe to grind if the media at least were honest. It is one thing to have a skewed political agenda. That in and of itself is perfectly fine, as long as they are open and honest about it. But as we all know they aren’t. They shroud themselves in noble labels such as “objectivity”, “impartiality” and “fairness”. I would be perfectly satisfied with honesty, you can have your agenda as long as you don’t lie blatantly about it. The 2016 Election Season in the US was a great time for shining a light on this problem. They shed the last veneer of any pretense of objectivity in their onesided coverage and shilling for Clinton.
These aren’t the only “press crimes” I condemn. Especially after last week’s horrific attack on the Congressional baseball practice in Virginia, we musn’t neglect to mention the encouragement of violence found in the press. I think it says a lot about a journalist and/or press organisation when they either fail to condemn or even openly encourage violence. Twitter and other social media platforms have been overflowing in recent days with examples of mainstream press outlets talking openly about committing violence about their political opponents. This vile, vitriolic hatred deserved the strongest possible condemnation.