I was recently in Oklahoma city where I was visiting with my wife’s family. We talked about a great many things, but one thing that we talked about was how the media never really seems to get the story right. I have wondered on more than one occasion whether part of the schooling of a journalist is that you have to dig for a story. Journalists seem to start with the premise that all people lie and fabricate from there.
I was involved with a start-up a number of years back and had the opportunity to talk to a local news paper. The interviewer knew that this was not my first start-up and wanted to know what, if anything, I was going to do different. I explained that people who work in start-up’s can get so involved with their work, that they can lose track of other things like family. I had previously worked in a start-up where the divorce rate was very high and I blamed that on the intensity of the work environment.
I explained to the interviewer that one of the things I wanted to accomplish with this new start-up was to make sure that work and family life was balanced. The article came out several weeks later with a quote from me saying that I thought that start-ups caused divorces. There was little in the way of support for this position and management was made out to be the cause.
The press will go to great lengths to protect its sources and would never allow a piece to be reviewed before publication as that might taint the objectivity of the reporter. In my case I don’t think the writer could have been further away from what I was actually saying.
I have talked to many people where I explain my experiences with the press and I can’t believe how many others have had this same experience. If the press believe that everyone they interview is not telling the truth, and that they have to dig for the real story, what do we end up reading? I know people that make it their life’s work to manage the press but I have to ask, how did we get in this state? We are supposed to be the free world where we hold freedom of the press up for others to lust after.
In actual fact the press is free to write what ever they want and they don’t know what to do when people tell them the truth. The end result is slippery people talking to slippery people who look for the most news worthy story. Perhaps this is because real life is boring?
There are countries around the world where the government controls the press and we in the west are the first to condemn them for manipulating what their citizens get to read. We believe that we are different and that what we read is the unbiased truth. I would suggest to you that we have arrived at the same place through different paths.
All I know is that I can’t trust anything that I read or see in the news and I think that is sad.
Great article! Insightful look from perspective of someone with first-hand experience of dealing with press. I really like the question you posed: better to have a press coerced into writing what supports the government, or a press that is chasing money to sell its new? Food for thought!
I also think the different forms of media affect the degree of sensationalism. I find the truth is even twisted further on TV based news than articles on a website or newspaper. Great post