Baby Boom Professors introduced political correctness in their classrooms which, in turn, gave them license to create “agents of social change”, instead of educated, competent, critically thinking graduates. Nowhere is this corruption of speech and the intellect more destructive than in the field of journalism. It is sad but true that the journalists of today have forgotten whom they serve. It used to be the case that journalists served the truth and understood their duty to bring the truth, the news of the day, to our media outlets in an undistorted form. This encouraged the reader to exercise his intellect in interpreting and judging the meaning and import of the new facts presented. It also allowed the consumer, not the journalist, to determine his response to the material presented. Some readers may have found cause to hate the civil resistors during the civil rights movement while some may have been inspired to join their cause: but it would have been their decision.
News today is written with the ethical and moral import designed into the coverage and it’s meant to produce a specific opinion on behalf of the reader. Today’s journalist ignores the fact that the reader should grapple, critically, with the news of the day, and wrestle with the ethical dilemmas contained in it, and this is as necessary to being an informed citizen as the facts of the story being reported. To contend that journalists know how we should react morally and ethically to the news of the day, is to remove the educational process from news reporting, in favor of craven manipulation and arrogance on behalf of the journalist. People need to struggle and find meaning in the material themselves, no one can legitimately do it for them, and the fact that the readers might make a mistake, does not justify “massaging” the news to fit into a politically correct template. It goes well beyond persuading someone of the wisdom of your point of view into manipulating them by redefining words, and imposing a status on protected groups that they don’t deserve.
For example, instead of writing that an Arab terrorist cut off the head of an American Fortune 500 executive for defiling Islamic lands in the mid east; the journalist of today, an agent of social change, would see it as: An freedom fighting Asian fatally dealt with an Exploitive Corporate Executive engaged in Cultural and Religious Insensitivity Against Islam. Here are those two headlines side by side for easier comparison:
Arab Terrorist Beheads American Executive for Occupying Islamic Lands
Asian Freedom Fighter Defends Islam from Capitalist Greed and the Illegal Occupation of Palestine
Now, to be charitable, we can posit that both headlines honestly represent the writer’s point of view on the relevant facts: it’s just that one headline is wrong and the other is right. Its not half right or partly right, its not culturaly sensitive, it’s not helping society its just wrong. If you are writing for an American News Outlet, serving the information needs of the American People, then we need to know that the guy was an Arab Terrorist. Not making that fact explicit is immoral and manipulative and very poor reporting.
Here is where the fun begins. The corrupt politically correct baby boom editor will insist that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. There is a certain truth to that assertion but it’s ridiculously out of context. In the point of view of the Americans, whose paper is doing the reporting, the guy is a terrorist. The fact that his comrades would see him as a freedom fighter is true, patently obvious, but entirely irrelevant. As a reader I want the facts of the news story and I don’t care who it offends as long as it’s true.
The news media wants to be “sensitive” to other cultures and project the superiority of their world view while crafting the “truth” for those who may otherwise misinterpret it. This culturally sensitive shaping of the news gives the media outlet in question a rosy view of how it has become an agent of social change and is fighting unfair stereotypes by enlightened reporting. It also give the media a level of power that it does not deserve and should not possess.
As the American reader I just feel lied to, manipulated, and otherwise jerked around by some media reporter trying to pass off his or her political baggage as news. I am the audience not the guy in Riyadh Saudi Arabia: I just want the facts because I don’t have time to sit through how the editor or the writer gets a big boost to his elitist self image by pretending that offending the Arabs is more important than discharging their duty to inform the American Public. How the media feels about the story is something I dont care about: Just get the facts right. This is not rocket science folks. This is how political correctness has corrupted American Journalism and why the news reporting of the day often falls short of the mark. This is why people are looking for other ways to be informed.
I leave you with this from the bible. Peace be with you.
16 But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and that lead to peace. 17 Do not make evil plots to harm each other. And stop this habit of swearing to things that are false. I hate all these things, says the LORD.”