Reporting on Facts or Fake News?
The internet and social media make it easy for us to express our opinion about everything. I’m just as guilty as the next person who reacts without verifying facts or searching for supporting documents. The reason for this article is a reminder to get it right, the first time. Let me be clear I’m not a journalist or someone who sat through Journalism 101. If I had maybe I would be more careful to insure what I write is accurate and true.
Journalists and reporters cover news as it happens and report back to their agency what they see or hear and how people are affected. They can’t do that sitting in an office or watching television while someone else gets the scoop. Nobody wants to be second at reporting news stories. The same should be true with us as we shouldn’t want to simply regurgitate what someone else has said because we haven’t verified the source or even if there is one.
What we don’t know causes anxiety and panic that leads to irrational actions and ultimately to death. Stoking the fire causes uncontrollable panic and possible rioting. It is in everybody’s interest to find out what is going on and reassure family and friends that everything will be all right. How do we do that? By gathering the facts and putting out positive reassuring information that helps everyone to remain calm.
I conducted a unscientific Facebook survey (still ongoing) asking those who didn’t like President Trump to state their reasons why and provide supporting evidence. Out of 3 dissenting opinions only one followed through with a You-Tube video of President Trump’s interaction with a reporter supporting her reasoning for not liking Trump. There were many stated reasons, based primarily on hearsay and or fake news reporting.
Take the Coronavirus outbreak of 2019 which is sweeping across the globe now in 2020.
- What do we know about it?
- How did it happen?
- Who is responsible?
- Where did it start?
- When did it begin?
- What is being done by the US to combat the virus?
What do we know about it?
- We know that the Corona family of Viruses have been around for a very long time and everyone may be exposed to it at one time or another.
- It is something that can wipe out those with compromised immune systems or certain pre-existing conditions.
- It is treatable and not always fatal.
How did it happen?
- It has not been established whether it was intentional or unintentionally released to the unsuspecting public.
Who is responsible?
- It is possible that it was used militarily by the host nation to quell civil disobedience?
Where did it start?
- The epicenter where it was first acknowledged was Wuhan, China.
When did it begin?
- It first became noticed in November 2019.
- It was reported to the world community on 31 December 2019.
What is being done by President Trump in the US to combat the Coronavirus?
- 1-31-2020 Immigration ban from China & Direct flights from China – US were halted.
- 2-26-2020 Organized the Coronavirus Task Force
- Tasked Vice President Pence to be in charge.
- Surgeon General Jerome Adams,
- 2-26-2020 Organized the Coronavirus Task Force
- CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci and
- Dr. Debra Birx
- 2-29-2020 Immigration ban from Iran to US.
- 3-11-2020 Immigration ban from Schengen area of Europe to US.
- 3-13-2020 National Emergency Declared COVID-19.
- 3-14-2020 Immigration ban from United Kingdom to US and Republic of Ireland.
- Schools and businesses closed as a 15 day stay at home order, social distancing and self-isolation of sick and elderly to prevent virus spread.
- 3-18-2020 Executive Order prioritizing and allocating health and medical resources to respond to the spread of COVID-19.
- 3-20-2020 Memorandum on delegation of functions – Exchange Stabilization Fund
- Memorandum on providing federal support for governors’ (California, New York, Washington) use of National Guard to respond to COVID-19
- 3-18-2020 Invokes the Defense Production Act of 1950
- Mobilizing Mercy hospital ships to Los Angeles and New York City
- Mobilizing Army Corps of Engineers assets to convert hotels and conference centers into temporary hospitals – nationwide.
- Authorizing corporations to convert to wartime production of Personal Protection Equipment (gloves, masks, ventilators)
- The fast tracking of already available and highly suitable medications to slow the spread of the virus.
- Encourage Congress to pass bill to help citizens, small businesses and corporations during pandemic.
- 3-23-2020 Executive Order preventing hoarding of health and medical resources.
- 3-24-2020 Travel ban on Northern and Southern Borders
- There have been meetings with Governors, CEOs and medical professionals all lending input as to how best to deal with the Coronavirus and we’re making progress.
What I notice still going on by main stream media outlets nationwide is the childish ways reporters, journalists and freelance editorialists continue to focus and pick apart the words or actions of President Trump while paying little attention to substance. I recently did a brief Google search of the Defense Production Act and almost every single “hit” was aimed at creating division by mocking and distorting President Trump. What that shows is how little impact the ethics or tenets of journalism have been given by those with a chosen profession of reporting the news.
Basic Tenets of Good Journalism
Deceptively alter quotes
Present info out of context
Make false claims
Recklessly disregard the truth
Publish defamatory claims
Omit important context
Push false narratives
Contact subject of story for comment
Seek both sides
Check facts for accuracy
It is a choice to willfully ignore the tenets of journalism to score political points by the willful disrespect of another. Publishing false reports or fake news in an attempt to destroy the reputation of another is unacceptable and hurts the one doing it, much more than the intended subject. When you submit a written or visual report with your name on it don’t let it brand you as a wisecracking double-tongued nincompoop. Your reputation depends on it. So don’t be a FNN sissified slanderer. – I am the Real Truckmaster!