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Frontline - "Why America Hates the Press"

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
With a thread about the PBS show, Frontline, I did some backtracking of Frontline episodes and came across this:

<a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/press/" target="_blank">Why America Hate the Press</a>

Read everything in it. It's a pet peeve of mine, and why I think the media are the real traitors of the USA, not liberals, conservatives, nor others, well, at least traitors to their profession. They've been given priveledges like in no other nation, yet have sold out all of their ethics. In fact, there doesn't seem to be any ethics nor shame amongst the media anymore.

In particular read the excerpt from, <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/press/vanities/fallows.html" target="_blank">Why We Hate the Media by James Fallows</a>. It talked about one of my favorite PBS shows in the 80s, "Ethics in America."

This is somewhat why I can barely watch any political show on TV or stand to read any editorialist anymore. They are too full of themselves to see the forest from the trees.
post #2 of 23
As a student of journalism this is a subject very often discussed.

The Wallace/Jennings conundrum is a very important topic and I, personally, would go with Jennings first reaction. I won't go into the argument here (suffice it to say that Newt Gingrich was right on the money, "The military has done a vastly better job of systematically thinking through the ethics of behavior in a violent environment than the journalists have."), but I've read this report and it really is insightful to those not entirely familiar with the media-world.

must... fight... temptation to argue against Wallace... scumbag bastard... must fight!
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post #3 of 23
Just to make sure I don't derail the thread with that one instance....

There are a ton of different very interesting aspects to this report. I especially like the parts about the celebrity journalists going on the lecture circuits and the blurring of the line between entertainment and journalism.

Very very interesting.
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post #4 of 23
They've completely failed in reporting on the war in Afghanistan.They are claiming that the military is restricting their movements in Afghanistan,but what is really happening is that journalists are expecting the military to provide transportation for them.What they are claiming to be a media blackout imposed by our government is really a product of their own laziness.
post #5 of 23
[quote]Originally posted by Rick1138:
<strong>They've completely failed in reporting on the war in Afghanistan.They are claiming that the military is restricting their movements in Afghanistan,but what is really happening is that journalists are expecting the military to provide transportation for them.What they are claiming to be a media blackout imposed by our government is really a product of their own laziness.</strong><hr></blockquote>

The media are traitors to the free world. You think D-Day would have been a success if we had damn journalists reporting every troop movement? Our enemies must be laughing at our stupidity. A couple months ago, the national guard stood guard at LAX (los angeles international airport). They had really big guns hanging off their shoulders, providing a sense of security to passengers. Guess what the media does? They find out the guns are not loaded and REPORT IT. Yes, that really is in the interests of national security. Tell the whole world that the guns the national guard are toting are UNLOADED. Idiots.
post #6 of 23
The real threat to security is that the guns are unloaded,which is why it should be reported,and the guns loaded.No,good journalism does not mean giving away troop movements to the enemy,don't be facetious.Here is an example of good war reporting:

<a href="http://www.salon.com/books/int/2002/04/23/pelton/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.salon.com/books/int/2002/04/23/pelton/index.html</a>


If you read the body of the article you will see that there are many elements in the military who feel that it is better the actual truth be told,rather than sugar coated Pentagon propaganda.
post #7 of 23
[quote]Originally posted by Rick1138:
<strong>The real threat to security is that the guns are unloaded,which is why it should be reported,and the guns loaded.No,good journalism does not mean giving away troop movements to the enemy,don't be facetious.Here is an example of good war reporting:

<a href="http://www.salon.com/books/int/2002/04/23/pelton/index.html" target="_blank">http://www.salon.com/books/int/2002/04/23/pelton/index.html</a>


If you read the body of the article you will see that there are many elements in the military who feel that it is better the actual truth be told,rather than sugar coated Pentagon propaganda.</strong><hr></blockquote>

The national guard was there for intimidation only. The press blew their cover. That should never happen.
post #8 of 23
It would have been better if they had weapons that were actually loaded.What if they had to use them? Whoever was attacking them would find out quite quickly that their weapons weren't loaded.
post #9 of 23
Perhaps I'm just ranting, but I'd say that so much of American "hates" the press because the press tends to uniformly roast figures, cultural values, et cetera that I'd estimate the majority of this country favors.

To tell you the truth, I'm sick of the slant so obvious in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and I notice the same sickened response from Dems, Republicans, Greens, an Libertarians alike.
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post #10 of 23
[quote]Originally posted by Rick1138:
<strong>It would have been better if they had weapons that were actually loaded.What if they had to use them? Whoever was attacking them would find out quite quickly that their weapons weren't loaded.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes, because we really want crossfire in a crowded airport. The fact that they had them slung on their arms would have prevented such a reckless attack. They didn't need to be loaded to make someone second guess pulling out a gun. The media blew their cover. That is unforgiveable.
post #11 of 23
[quote]

Perhaps I'm just ranting, but I'd say that so much of American "hates" the press because the press tends to uniformly roast figures, cultural values, et cetera that I'd estimate the majority of this country favors.

<hr></blockquote>

It's the business of journalists to tell the truth,whether that truth is kind to cherished leaders or values or not.Who broke the Catholic priest scandal? The press did.I'm sure many Catholics are upset at the tarnish on their church,but think of all the kids that have been saved from pedophiles.What kind of country would we be living in if Woodward and Bernstein had been more careful not to "roast" Nixon,not to tread on the feelings of "the silent majority".I think that what they did took great courage and that they are true patriots.What kind a country do you want to live in,a democracy with free and open speech,or a hagiocracy with Dateline fluff pieces?


[quote]

Yes, because we really want crossfire in a crowded airport.

<hr></blockquote>

They are trained to deal with such situations.I prefer to be protected by people who actually have usable weapons,rather than people who look like they have usable weapons.

[quote]

The fact that they had them slung on their arms would have prevented such a reckless attack. They didn't need to be loaded to make someone second guess pulling out a gun.

<hr></blockquote>

Huh? I don't think you get it,these people are suicide bombers,they don't care if they die.


[quote]

The media blew their cover. That is unforgiveable.

<hr></blockquote>

You sound like Putin discussing Babitsky.I think you would be very comfortable in Russia,where the free press is being shut down.
post #12 of 23
[quote]What kind of country would we be living in if Woodward and Bernstein had been more careful not to "roast" Nixon,not to tread on the feelings of "the silent majority".<hr></blockquote>

That took 0 courage!
Nixon was hated, the only thing to be scared of in that situation was Nixon's paranoia, not any kind of public backlash.

--

The media did their job on reporting that the airport guardes were essentially unarmed. Guns need bullets, if the National Guard can't be trusted with live rounds then they don't need to be there.

They did blow it in Somalia however, Christ...
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post #13 of 23
Nixon was hated by a minority,which in turn was hated by the average American.Nixon was elected by the greatest landslide in American presidential elections.Nixon's paranoia was something to fear, his willingness to use the FBI and CIA against his political oppenents is well documented.Does constitutional crisis mean anything? It was the work of Woodward and Bernstein that exposed this to the general public.Before Watergate implications of Nixon in sinister behavior was thought by the general public to be merely the paranoid rantings of the left.

[ 04-26-2002: Message edited by: Rick1138 ]

[ 04-26-2002: Message edited by: Rick1138 ]</p>
post #14 of 23
Getting back on topic....

Check this link out:
<a href="http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/timemag.html" target="_blank">http://world.std.com/~camera/docs/alert/timemag.html</a>
This is one reason why Americans should be skeptical about Big Corporate News outlets. They are more interested in sensationalism than in accurate reporting. Sometimes it's simply outright lies. But it makes good fodder for the anti-semites who kid themselves into thinking they are just Palestinian supporters, when in reality they support anyone killing jews.
post #15 of 23
Speaking about democratia , Churchill said that it was the lesser evil form of governement.
paraphrasing him , i will say that free media (because the US press is free) is the lesser evil system of information.

What's wrong with the media : they tend to show the facts with their own perpesctive and they are filtering the tremendeous amount of info coming from all over the world. Some time to times we can see some fashions in the media : at one moment they will decide to speak every-day of powerty, next they will speak of insecurity, of aghanistan, of middle east ...For example in France they speak in TV news of the middle east every days. Middle east is important but seeing this reports all days long, make me sick, and it can generate violent reaction upon brain-washed peoples. Two years ago it was serbia : whe have this subject all days long.
Can't we choose our self the subjects where we want info ?

And the worst of all is the way that media are presenting themself : it's like asking a judge to judge justice ...
post #16 of 23
Too many people take what the media says as the god given truth. Even if it's only half the story, misinformation fed to them or propaganda from the government. It should be taken at face value: editorialized facts.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
<strong>Originally posted by groverat:
The Wallace/Jennings conundrum is a very important topic and I, personally, would go with Jennings first reaction. ...

must... fight... temptation to argue against Wallace... scumbag bastard... must fight!</strong>

You can make the case for Wallace. Admittedly, a difficult one. Gingrich's criticism wasn't that it was wrong for Wallace to say he would film and not warn, it was that he couldn't or didn't explain why he would do so. All Wallace said, and later Jennings, was that as journalists they must stay detached, which is not a very good answer in an ethics discussion. There are good reasons for staying detached, perhaps even good reasons for filming.

As a journalist, the detachment or impartiality needs to be there to support the profession. It allows all journalists to be treated with a modicum of trust from all those who they encounter. With this trust there, it allows journalists to be relatively safe in very dangerous situations. It will allow journalists to report the story of what happened by giving freer access.

Wallace's sin wasn't that he said he would film, it was that he didn't explain why, and why he would suffer from it, thereby making him look inhumane. All of the ethical conundrums don't have great answers, but decisions need to be made with some care and thought, not zero tolerance no thought style policies.
post #18 of 23
[quote]There are good reasons for staying detached, perhaps even good reasons for filming.<hr></blockquote>

Well, in a general sense sure, you should remain detached. And by detached I mean objective (as is humanly possible).

The whole "don't make news" argument is impossible, because it's impossible to not act. Keeping quiet about a coming ambush is just as viable an action as warning the troops about it. You are inextricably linked with the situation when you put yourself in the middle of it. Acting like you're invisible doesn't make you so.

In a combat situation you, as a journalist, are a burden on the troops. You have baggage that can be noisy and you are far more likely to put the group in danger than a lone set of soldiers. You, as a journalist, rely on them for protection in a dangerous situation. If at some point these guys protecting you come under attack and you don't help, well... there's just no excuse for that.

And this is coming from a journalist.

[quote]As a journalist, the detachment or impartiality needs to be there to support the profession. It allows all journalists to be treated with a modicum of trust from all those who they encounter.<hr></blockquote>

Don't confuse detachment with inaction.

A pulitzer prize winning photographer committed suicide a few years back because he was haunted by his own profession, he had taken a picture of a little girl on fire or something and he could've helped her, but he just took pictures of her. She begged for his help.

There are priorities, and it's ludicrous that so many journalists feel an almost religious devotion to this the fallacious concept of "detachment".

What especially makes this pro-Wallace argument infuriating for me is how much money he makes off this. He uses people to make money and a name for himself and they are the ones risking their lives.

There are many occassions when your heart knows what's right. This is one of those.
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post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
<strong>Originally posted by groverat:
In a combat situation you, as a journalist, are a burden on the troops. You have baggage that can be noisy and you are far more likely to put the group in danger than a lone set of soldiers. You, as a journalist, rely on them for protection in a dangerous situation. If at some point these guys protecting you come under attack and you don't help, well... there's just no excuse for that.</strong>

So are you talking about the dilemma with the North Kosanese or just in general here?

<strong>There are priorities, and it's ludicrous that so many journalists feel an almost religious devotion to this the fallacious concept of "detachment".</strong>

Yes, of course there are priorities. But the point of ethical dilemmas is that your priorities are at war with each other, that both choices are equally valid and disastrous, and you must choose.

The detachment is there to help you from getting unduly involved. If you are doing a story on orphaned babies, where you find out they will die, do you adopt all of them to keep them alive? What about children living in destitute conditions. Do you give them money to help them along?

<strong>There are many occassions when your heart knows what's right. This is one of those.</strong>

Yes, there are. But there are also many situations where one does not know what the right thing to do is.

Would you have answered yes to the first question of going to North Kosan? Why so?

If you said yes, suppose you had a best friend, who was journalist, who also came to North Kosan and followed another troop of North Kosanese. You're now situated in the ambush presented to Jennings and Wallace. You know you are able to warn the American and South Kosanese soldiers of the ambush, and you are able to save yourself and the soldiers. You also know that by doing so, you are killing your best friend and your friend's camera person. What would you do?

I would have never have gone to North Kosan in the first place.

[ 04-26-2002: Message edited by: THT ]</p>
post #20 of 23
[quote]So are you talking about the dilemma with the North Kosanese or just in general here?<hr></blockquote>

I was talking about combat situations in general. Theoretical or otherwise.

If I didn't make that clear enough I apologize.

[quote]The detachment is there to help you from getting unduly involved.<hr></blockquote>

I suppose the lynchpin in that argument is the word "unduly". A Wallace view says anything is "unduly" while an inital Jennings view (a view I would call "the human being's view") shows that there is actual flexibility.

Wallace would remove "unduly" entirely, actually.

[quote]If you are doing a story on orphaned babies, where you find out they will die, do you adopt all of them to keep them alive? What about children living in destitute conditions. Do you give them money to help them along?<hr></blockquote>

Well obviously one journalist can't adopt an orphanage or raise the economic situation of an entire community.

If a journalist can, by some small action, save lives then absolutely I think that's the choice you make. Does a press pass remove my obligations as a member of society? I don't think so.

[quote]Would you have answered yes to the first question of going to North Kosan? Why so?<hr></blockquote>

Well, specific to the Wallace/Jennings situation, Jennings' initial reaction was true to the heart, so to speak. He had to defeat his initial urge with cold reason, which isn't always the best thing.

If your first reaction upon seeing a prepared ambush on your unsuspecting company and the first thing you think is "oooh, great story", then I think you've turned into a monster.


[quote]You also know that by doing so, you are killing your best friend and your friend's camera person. What would you do?<hr></blockquote>

That's an interesting twist. But tough shit for him, he should've seen you coming and warned his guys. He who hesitates masturbates, as they say. If I have to make a choice between myself and my countrymen dying and someone else and his (adopted?) countrymen dying, I'm going to choose me and my fellow citizens. I'm not big on martyring myself for nothing.

[quote]I would have never have gone to North Kosan in the first place.<hr></blockquote>

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post #21 of 23
The media sucks (except for fox news-usually). They release information that should not be made public. Like the "classified" department of defense doccument that told about us making the Axis of Evil possible nuclear targets. Things are classified for a reason. One reason is so the media won't get hold of it and blow it out of proportion. I can't think of how many times they've threatened our national security since September, 11th. Like telling the whole frickin' world that our nuclear plants are extremly vulnerable to attack. Oh great, you just gave the terrorists a good idea, thanks a bundle. All these news companies care about is making a $. They wouldn't care if our country went to shit.
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post #22 of 23
[quote]Originally posted by groverat:
<strong>

The media did their job on reporting that the airport guardes were essentially unarmed. Guns need bullets, if the National Guard can't be trusted with live rounds then they don't need to be there.

They did blow it in Somalia however, Christ...</strong><hr></blockquote>

No, I think they should have kept their mouths shut on that one. It's not that the Guard can't be trusted with live rounds, it's that somebody could punch out a Guardsman and grab the gun. With or without it being loaded. I worried about this when I travelled to Toronto in October; in our little two strip airport, there was suddenly a skinny little guy with a CAR-15 who wouldn't have known what to do in ANY case, bless his heart.

As for the media, in general, I have no use for them. The main problem is that they don't have to abide by the logical consequences of their behavior and/or espoused opinions. Pyotr Jennings, for instance, has armed bodyguards, but thinks that the rest of us should have gun control. It's easy for the "media" to tell us what WE should do and how WE should live, without having to deal with it themselves. Plus, I despise anyone who pushes an agenda without acknowledging it. At least JESSE HELMS is honest about his right-wing bent.
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post #23 of 23
The Outsider,that was a good link.I wonder why that hasn't been picked up by any of the other news outlets,I guess they are afraid to criticize their own.
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