Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Rush to Judgment

Just about every other J-blog is covering the news that it was in fact NOT Israel who caused the deaths of the picnicking Palestinians a few days ago, but more likely a mine placed by Hamas.

Other blogs are covering the news that Karl Rove will in fact not be indicted for anything, contrary to the hopes and claims of many on the left over the past year or so.

I think that these two stories point to a serious problem that has long been pointed to but never been addressed: The complete and utter irresponsibility of our news media to learn the facts of a story before reporting it.

On top of this, when the truth does later come out, the story gets nowhere near the coverage it did originally - unless you're a serious news follower, you will forever be under the impression that the original story reported was true, when in fact it was completely false. As Meryl Yourish pointed out today:
When the Gaza incident hit, within a very short time, there were thousands of news items on the incident all around the world. There are currently 114 news items about the IDF report denying responsibility.
Isn't it beyond ridiculous already? How much longer are we the people going to allow our news media to get away with this willful lack of standards? Think through the major stories that were breathlessly reported over the past couple of years - how many have been proven false as the dust clears:
Valerie Plame's outing. Tens of thousands dead during Katrina. Black people left to die during Katrina. Tens of thousands dead at the Superdome. Israel kills seven at beach. Israel kills. Israel kills. Israel kills. Haditha. Missile attack in Afghanistan by US soldiers wipes out village. Karl Rove to be indicted. Vice President Cheney to be indicted. Military recruitment down. US torturing people at secret camps in Europe. US tapping domestic phone calls. US compiling all phone records from phone companies. Speaker Hastert to be investigated.
The list goes on and on. All of the above were major headlines for at least a day or two - some for much longer. All turned out to be false or very different than originally reported. In many cases, the truth could have been discovered quickly simply by asking the right people (as discussed previously). It is absolutely pathetic that the news media reports with no compunction, with no fear of backlash, with no worry that their irresponsibility may one day hurt them. It simply never does.

What kind of standards are we holding our news media to?

Apparently, none.