What Is A Journalist's Ethical Duty When a Political Leader Tells An Untruth?

Discussion in 'Media' started by George Costanza, Sep 10, 2011.

  1. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    A political leader makes a statement that is later determined to not only have been untrue, but to have been a lie, i.e., the political leader knew it was false when it was uttered. The statement is reported by the media as if it is factually correct. It is not questioned.

    Has the media failed to do something it should have done by not questioning the statement and/or by leading the public to believe it is a true statement?

    What is the responsibility of journalism with respect to statements made by political leaders which they report? If a journalist knows that a political leader is lying, does he or she have a duty to say as much? Or is it only a journalist's duty to report what is said, without "passing judgement" on the utterance?
     
  2. Oddball
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    Oddball BANNED Supporting Member

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    Gulf ....of ...Tonkin.....:eusa_whistle:
     
  3. Quantum Windbag
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    Quantum Windbag Gold Member

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    I guess that depends on who you ask. I would think so, but I am not a journalist.
     
  4. George Costanza
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    George Costanza A Friendly Liberal

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    Excellent example. I am not trying to single out any particular political leader here. Almost all of them put out a few lies during their careers.

    The issue is, what should a journalist do when that happens?
     
  5. driveby
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    driveby Gold Member

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    Protect democrats at all costs.....
     
  6. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    report it.
     
  7. rdean
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    rdean rddean

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    The media is right wing owned and controlled. Otherwise, the Bush never would have been able to trick the American people into invading Iraq.
     
  8. Foxfyre
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    Foxfyre Eternal optimist Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I am or was a journalist and have worked for newspapers (as a reporter) and for radio and television. But that was a long time ago when journalistic ethics were real and every credible journalist took pride in them. Any hint of bias in a straight news story would get us a stern lecture from the city editor. An intentional misstatement of facts would get you fired.

    We didn't call anybody a liar. But we would report what a person said as well as the person with information to counter the statement. Or, if we had the real skinny, we would report it with a source. The first paragraph contained who, what, where, when, why, and how and no pertinent fact relevant to the story was any lower than the third paragraph. We were paid to dig for the truth in any story and the rule was verify, verify, verify before printing a word that could damage a person's reputation or hurt his/her family or whatever.

    These days reporters and editors, if they bother to check facts at all, too often don't report inconvenient facts that interfere with their personal bias which is apparent in the news stories. And they will report any fact, however questionable, that supports somebody they favor or makes somebody they don't favor look bad. The bias is apparent in where they place 'facts' in the story, the headlines they use, the photo selected, and the page the story appears in the newspaper or how near the top of the schedule it appears on a radio or TV report. The politics of personal destruction is rampant in the media as well as in the body politic.

    Short answer to George's question: a competent and ethical media will not knowingly promote anybody's lie as the truth.

    The media has not been competent nor ethical for some time now with a very few exceptions.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  9. Wry Catcher
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    Wry Catcher Platinum Member

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    What's a "journalist"? (Sorry. You ask a serious and important question and it deserves a serous response. Sadly the snarky and sarcastric question was the first thing to jump into my head.).

    A journalist has a duty to his/her profession, but is that the higher duty? If a journalist knows that a president lied, and knowingly did so, isn't the first duty of a journalist to ask (find out) why?

    If the journalist learned the president lied to prevent a harm to the people, what then is the duty of the journalist? To decieve his readers, or to allow them to be harmed? Surely the deception is the lesser evil.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  10. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    Ask the current Media, it absolutely REFUSED to do its job when Obama ran for President and all through his Presidency.
     

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