Caught: Media-prostitutes and their clients

Updated 2019 05 16

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

About media-prostitutes and their clients

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.  That can and does lead to media prostitution.

What to do, to prevent falling for media-prostitutes?

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:

  1. Who did that?
  2. What happened?
  3. Where did it take place?
  4. When did it take place?
  5. Why did that happen?

More: Wikipedia article on the five Ws

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 issue 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, but don’t get suckered by media-prostitutes.  Don’t let them take you for a ride.


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