Friday, October 15, 2010

Sloppy Reporting Is Irresponsible And Unacceptable

Wondrous developments in technology have put millions of users online, with access to unfathomable depths of information. In this cyber-age everyone and anyone can broadcast their loves, hates, and darkest fears to the world through blogs, video-postings, and opinion polls.

The wealth of information at our touch-typing fingertips is unpoliced and uncertain. Public scepticism is the only source of editing. Yet while the fallibility of Wikipedia is a foregone conclusion, many other sources remain unchecked.

So rather than herald the end of print-media, as many suggested, the murky waters of the internet should allow the national media outlets, with trained journalists on the pay-roll, to shine out as a beacon of truth. In response to the dubious web, national and international newspapers should recognise their duty to publish credible, well-researched, accurate reports that pay no heed to gossip and rumour.

Two recent media storms reveal that this is not the case.

Some of Israel’s most influential dailies put much weight behind the claim that Hezbollah, aided by Syria, was amassing Scud missiles, capable of striking deep inside Israel. Have the journalists responsible for such gossip ever seen a Scud missile? Why would Hezbollah, generously funded by Iran, pay any attention to Cold War era fossils?

Another fairytale recounted by the media is that Syria is producing rockets. Syria would love to be producing rockets. That would be very lucrative and useful. Unfortunately they do not have the manufacturing capability, nor will they have it anytime soon.

Blind acceptance of intelligence feeds smacks of incompetency and laziness. Spread of disinformation is unacceptable, especially when dealing with such sensitive subjects that have repercussions upon politics and xenophobia.

Manipulation of public opinion is the power all media wields. Journalists would do well to show a little humility before it.

NB. The author recognises the potential irony of damning the unedited proliferation of blogs, whilst using the medium herself.

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