Neutral Truth... Neutruth?


March 27 – This was the second last class of the semester and it seems like we’ve barely scratched the surface of what there is to learn in journalism ethics. One thing is certain though, truth is what we seek and what we report. And so with that in mind, we looked at two more items we had yet to learn; the big flush and the duck test.

Although seemingly obscure, they are both straightforward. First, we consider one of the biggest challenges in journalism ethics. It’s the difficulty in recognizing whether footage is bias or not. Certainly, a journalist will watch a report on the evening news and wonder if there is more to the story, but as a regular viewer, do you believe everything that is presented to you?


This is where the job of an ethical journalist comes in, to flush out and wash the news clean of bias. Predispositions are set aside and we separate lies from the truth. Here is the example: two newsreels covering the Moscow protests depict two very different situations. In the first reel from December 6, 2011, Fox News showed a city up in flames, and chaos among the protesters. In the second reel on the same date, BBC News showed a peaceful protest without smoke or flames. Two days later, a report came out saying Fox News lied in their news reporting, showing images of fires from the Greek protests.

Journalists have tools to separate truth from lies; it’s called fact checking. And with this dandy little method, we flush out the wrong and report the right. This is the only way to ensure the right information is being reported. Sounds redundant but sometimes to teach journalism ethics, we need to repeat ourselves.

And so we look at the duck. It swims like a duck, it looks like a duck, it quacks like a duck – well, it probably is a duck. But we have to look closer – does this duck take batteries? We had better check the facts before we come to any conclusion. So take a closer look at those protest videos and before reporting on carnage, check the facts and make sure the story fits the video.

And on the topic of protests (uprisings, manifestations, revolutions, upheavals) we must take into account and be accountable for the language we use. Is it a revolution? We won’t know until it’s all over. Stick to neutrality, it’s more truthful. And so, we’ll call it unrest, or better yet a demonstration.

It looks like a demonstration, it sounds like a demonstration, wash away all the bias and yes, it is indeed a demonstration. 

No comments:

Post a Comment