In the past decade, I noticed a certain trend. It made me rethink my purpose in college. Even after that, though, it still continued. As much as I tried over the years, it was harder and harder to find someone who believed in the dedication to the work on facts.
Not everyone takes part in the trend. However, the trend seems to get stronger every year. It reaches new levels each time.
The trend is in journalism.
It would be easy to take a side, either for or against. It would be easy to blame just the newspapers themselves or even the schools of journalism (if you are that kind of person, that is.) However, it’s not one and it’s the other. It’s a combination of the two along with something I’ve also noticed over the years.
Disinterest. Like a backwards walk from the rise for the struggle in the 1960s to 1980s. The struggles never disappeared. The interest did. Because of this disinterest, I also noticed an attitude of apprehension when politics comes into the picture. And then the same for international affairs. That’s just the beginning. I know it well: that feeling when you’re at a meeting to organize the next issue. In one instance, it’s throwing the idea on something that’s not conform. In another instance, it’s being asked “Well, you won’t go too far. Right?”
The consensus in today’s society is that politics is a no-go zone. It’s ironic given the heavily politically charged discussions. It’s ironic given the number of law projects we should be discussing more actively in our societies because they are not politics but are politicized regardless. Not only that but isn’t it tragic and disgusting that that conversation is actually taking place? Why does, for example, the push to get universal healthcare in the US, become a political conversation from the highest-ranking politicians to the most average citizen in the country side of the Mid-West? Why has no one heard about the multitude of protests, wars, and struggles happening all over Africa now, whereas the Arab Spring in North Africa won front page headlines a decade ago? Why is almost no one capable of doing the simplest war reporting on different conflicts and state armed belligerence to other states, even though it was donee in the past century accurately, not a tee, but almost?
Disinterest. Not only from our own societies, but also from the newspaper administrative boards themselves. Good journalists are hard to find. They’re now excruciatingly harder to find. What many don’t understand is that the news on the front page headlines is just breaking at the second per millisecond but that the rest is just the same. It’s all important. It’s not just about seeing the name on the page. It’s about serving those who need to know, not those who want to know. It’s not all about the culture or “the foreign policy of one country is not that of another so let me just see it from one angle”.
Journalism is facts. Yes, in a war no one is innocent and suffering happens on both sides, but war is not about both sides. War is not neutral. It never was. Study the ancient histories and you might understand. Not all wars are about winning and losing. They are sometimes just one or the other. Not everything is a competition.
However, in the past decade, I have seen, even first hand, a lot of competition. Not only disregard for certain policies and events, but also a disregard for certain social issues such as religion in historic key moments.
No, I am not just talking about Vatican II (which frankly, I don’t count as huge success given the Catholic Church’s incapability to calm down its warring factions today), the anti abortionist or others but the human rights creation, the toxicity of extremist branches on politics, whether inter faith discussion can help solve certain problems which politicians can’t solve because they’ve lost the humanity to do so. The last point is debatable but it deserves a discussion outside of the structures.
That said, being a wiz in communications and understanding right-left politics is not going to help anyone in transmitting the facts. It doesn’t prove the capacities of analysis. Understanding the intricacies of a region does: its quirks, its inter-generational struggles, its history, and most importantly, its prisms.
The world isn’t black and white. We can’t expect ourselves to know something because we have tinted colored glasses. There is no just one prism. There is no event more important than the other. There is no society who doesn’t bar hop to forget the worst in their country. And there is no one right and one left (You’d think the Americans for example would understand that tiny little detail but unfortunately no.). But this past month, I’ve seen what is now the limit for me. Seeing journalists and newspapers alike think themselves as money is a sad commemoration to the pantheon of words and the pantheon of facts. It’s a miracle there are still many who charge forward to report facts without prisms. As much as the world is concerned by the US elections, it is hardly the only important event right now.
Next time, I’ll discuss freedom of the press.