Updated 2019 03 13
The title of this commentary, Caught: Media-prostitutes and their clients, relates to that there are forms of prostitution that affect large numbers of people to an enormous extent. Prostitution does not only have sexual connotations. It is, 1. the act or practice of engaging in sex acts for hire but can also be and is, 2. the act or an instance of offering or devoting one’s talent to an unworthy use or cause, such as prostitution in the media.
Prostitution in the media happens and does not just happen by accident. It is standard operating procedure. Consider these quotes cited in Who controls C-Span:
We don’t print the truth. We don’t pretend to print the truth. We print what people tell us. It’s up to the public to decide what’s the truth.
— Ben Bradley, while Executive Editor of the Washington Post.
Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have.
— Richard Salant, former president of CBS News.
The ‘balanced’ report, in some cases, may no longer be the most effective. Can we afford to wait for our audience to come to its own conclusions? I think not.
— Tena Ryan, senior producer
Turner Broadcasting System
- Conrad Black about the integrity of journalists
- Feminist Urban Legends, by Wendy McElroy, 2002 11 12, an article that deals with the need to put an end to the popularizing of gender-biased advocacy research.
- Solving the Problem of Domestic Violence with the Bigger Picture, by Chris Erickson, transcript of a speech presented at Toronto Mensa’s Annual Regional Gathering, 2002 10 19
- Jim Boyce on Manufacturing Concern
- John Swinton about intellectual prostitution of journalists
- The Fall of Journalism, by Theodore Dawes; American Thinker. January 31, 2013
- Ted Byfield – Exploring the World of “Faction”
- Caught: Media-prostitutes and their clients
- Michele Landsberg
- Patricia Smith
- Stephen Glass
- Peter Arnett
- Christopher Newton
- The BBC is in serious trouble. In the space of one week it has suffered three serious blows to its credibility as a broadcaster of integrity which can be relied upon to tell the truth. (By Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail, 16 July 2007)
See also The protocols of the BBC
- Rachel Marsden (formerly Fox TV), stalker of the week
Who can one trust?
There is no easy way out. There is no universal standard by which anyone can determine to what extent journalistic ethics have been flexed by a given media organization or the author(s) of a given article or item published, or to what extent the editors caught and prevented false or misleading information from making it into print, unto the Internet or to be broadcast.
The advent of fake news aggravated the problem. It is not being made any easier by the fact that some of the players in the mainstream media – at least at times and in some instances – appear to have taken lessons from the producers of fake news. There is an old adage: “When it bleeds, it leads.” In other words, the more sensational it is, the more likely it is to be reported on and to make the front page.
Use more than one source of news or information. If one article stretches or fabricates the truth, it is not likely that all other media organization reporting on the issue will stretch it as much or into the same direction. Still, that is no panacea. The news item could be a syndicated article or originate with a common news-wire service. Always exercise caution.Make sure that all of the information necessary to enable anyone to audit a news story or its veracity have been accounted for and mentioned in the article. Those are the essential and vital Five Ws. According to the principle of the Five Ws, a report can only be considered complete if it answers these questions starting with an interrogative word:
- Who did that?
- What happened?
- Where did it take place?
- When did it take place?
- Why did that happen?
Which websites are trustworthy? There is some advice on what constitutes fake news. Generally, that advice states that one should check other sources in the mainstream media to see whether they carry or carried articles on a given issues of concern. One of the problems with that is that various means of censoring the news are being used, by many news sources, from news wire services to local sources of news. It is fairly safe to assume that what we get to see is what we are supposed to see, and that much of what we should see or get to know about is not being reported on in the news we do get to see. Given that proviso, here is one example of such advice, but I would not use it as a hard and cold standard that is always and universally true, with respect to what is or is not the objective truth. The problem with the advice given there is that is cannot be entirely trusted. For example:
»Check the “About Us” tab on websites or look up the website on Snopes or Wikipedia for more information about the source«
That advice is not completely sound. Snopes is not an entirely or always a trustworthy source of information, and Wikipedia most certainly is not (for example, Wikipedia is terribly biased with respect to environmental information it presents). Nevertheless, here is the link to the source that contains advice that is not entirely trustworthy. Use the list of websites shown there with care (aside from the fact that the list is incomplete):
False, Misleading, Clickbait-y, and/or Satirical “News” Sources, by Melissa Zimdars
That’s all for now, and good luck with hunting down the objective truth. It is an elusive target and hard to find.
- Australian Govt Admission: We Censor Websites
- Islamic Rape of Europe : Hyperbole? Justified Claim?
- A day with FB shadow banning
- Flushing hubby down the drain is not news
- Dictatorial power of the Canadian Prime Minister