My boyfriend, Dell Hinton, asked me to write this weeks blog and to talk about being a journalist in a rural community. My, calling him my boyfriend makes us sound like teenagers, but we are dating.
As you may know from reading A Cold Snow in Castaway County, I work at Channel 4 News. In a rural area like ours, I am responsible for most all of the process of getting a story on the news. I write the copy, I conduct the interviews, I edit the segment and I make the final presentation on the news program. In an urban area, there might be separate people performing each of these duties, but here, in Castaway County, Maine, there are few employees so the process is all left to me. Sometimes, I write copy for our other on-air personality, Bill Wilson, who is a character all his own. I’m sure he will turn up in John Hickman’s next book about our community.
Anyway, I wanted to tell you my view journalism today. It seems that various national networks have moved objective journalism into partisan political outlets which, in my mind, creates an environment of bent reality. The Democratic leaning networks bend left while the Republican leaning ones bend right. And in some cases, they only report “facts” that seem to support their political bend. In my mind this is a dangerous concept. The truth is not something to ‘bend’ towards a desired outcome.
Journalism, should be a presentation of true facts and news without any bends. It should reflect true reality. If a crime has occurred, you report the facts of the crime. The who, what, when and where then, you report the why, once a valid reason based upon real facts has been identified. No conjecture. No conspiracy theories. Nothing that isn’t verified as being the truth !
As a news anchor, I think I owe it to the members of my community to provide them with facts, not fiction. They rely upon me to give them the information each morning on what is going on in their world, so they can make valid decisions as they go through their daily life. If I give them biased information, then they in turn may make decisions based upon faulty information. News is the business of presenting facts, not partisan politics.
In our country’s last national election process we saw an example of how partisan journalism became a problem. All you need do is remember how devistated Mitt Romney appeared following his loss in the presidential election. Part of the reason he was so devastated was the fact that he had relied upon the poll information he was receiving from a Republican bent news agency and they were predicting a victory. Unfortunately, they had been bending the ‘facts’ to support their political bend.
And don’t get me wrong, this problem could have just as easily have befallen the Democratic candidate, had he relied upon information coming only from a left bending news group. News needs to be objective. All journalism, written or televised, needs to present the facts upon which we can base our daily lives. It is the presentation of facts, not suppositions or conjecture. Like Joe Friday used to say in the old Dragnet television series, “Just the facts, Ma’am!”
Well, I’ve talked a lot about news and journalism today. I hope I haven’t bored you. If I did, Dell probably won’t ask me to write another blog again. He’s waiting for me right now so we can take our kayaks out on the lake. I think he’s hoping for a great sunset over the lake. And that sounds good to me. Thanks for reading our blog.