Freedom From The Press

Opinion

August 22, 2018

Just some quick and easy common sense here.

“Freedom of the Press” means journalists can freely report on the news of the community, nation, world without prejudice. This means that, barring their broking a law such as entering a place without permission or violating the safety of individuals, journalists are allowed to gather news and report on their findings. This, however, does NOT mean that journalists can freely manufacture news. GATHER — as in investigate sources, interview witnesses, observe events and document.

Despite the temptation to fill in the gaps of a story with conjecture because the deadline is looming but the facts haven’t surfaced, “freedom of the press” does not cover fictionalizing news. There is no justification for personal bias in reporting.  And this includes creative framing of the scene, such as below.

This first image (L) gives the impression that reporters were swarming Michael Cohen yesterday. But the expanded second image (R) reveals the true environment. Even things this subtle are actually manufacturing news, or the impression of it.

Its journalistic manipulation whether intentional or not. True reporting will discourage misleading their audience.

The shouting of “Freedom of the Press” when President Trump declares certain reporting as “fake news” merely makes his point. The Press is not free to create and produce a version of events which did not occur, fill in or re-interpret words which were not spoken, use terms such as “unconfirmed sources” to cover for their own personal opinion, or attempt to trap those they actually interview by asking leading questions which in a court of law would clearly be considered “leading the witness”.

President Trump, as well as his conservative base and growing #walkaway base, want truth in reporting, even if it leads to outcomes which are not favorable to their cause. If someone commits an inappropriate deed, speaks lies, or breaks laws, the facts should bring that forward and be presented as such. Regardless of their political, religious, or social preferences.

People of integrity expect to be believed and when they are not, they let time prove them right. The Press should be people of integrity. Truth should override popularity, viewership, political leanings, and social desires.