I demand an apology…

I have watched the complete Season 1 of Newsroom almost three times in the last two weeks. What draws me to this show is the moral responsibility that the show insists professional journalism has towards the public…And I completely agree with that stance.

…. [Pause] we sure used to be. We stood up for what was right. We fought for moral reasons. We passed laws, struck down laws for moral reasons. We waged wars on poverty, not poor people. We sacrificed, we cared about our neighbors. We put our money where our mouths were. And we never beat our chest. We built great big things, made ungodly technological advances, explored the universe, cured diseases, and we cultivated the world’s greatest artists and the world’s greatest economy. We reached for the stars, acted like men. We aspired to intelligence, we didn’t belittle it, it didn’t make us feel inferior. We didn’t identify ourselves by who we voted for in our last election. And we didn’t… we didn’t scare so easy. We were able to be all these things, and to do all these things, because we were informed. By great men, men who were revered. First step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one…. Will McAvoy – Managing Editor ACN – Newsroom

Will brings it all down to one thing, information. Information should be provided to the people in a timely and factual manner with no bias and no filtering. It’s the prerogative of the people in charge with information dissemination to have integrity while doing so. It is important to know that an informed people form the best society, make the best decisions and is the basis of a successful economy.

We are extremely lucky to have and encourage journalism that scratches NOT beyond the surface, journalism that does NOT ask the questions that need to be asked, journalism that does NOT care for the entire fact, gives importance to hyperbole and innuendo.

What’s sad though is that even with that knowledge, we have turned the mainstream media to a tool for propaganda and rumor mongering, a mouth piece for the politicians to spew their lies and melodramatic reactions, an avenue where non-issues are given the prime hour and advertisements run longer than the NEWS.

All channels will report on the same piece from one angle, no one bothers to look for the other sides of the story or the different angles of the story; no one bothers to hire professional analysts who without fear or favor will analyze the economy, politics and the government. No one bothers to bring in experts on different subjects to weigh in on bills that are being passed in parliament and/or form a debate to dissect the bills.

We will have weeks and weeks of reporting on domestic violence as affects a small sample of the populace while no one is bothering to give insight on how to handle the increasing number of terrorist attacks from an expert point of view, no one is bothering to highlight the possible repercussions (economic and political) of electing a candidate facing charges in ICC from an expert in the matter, no one has bothered to give us a full cover of the new developments in the country, their expected outcomes, expert views on how to best achieve the goals, no one bothers to bring in analysts who will highlight to the people on the 5 year political scorecard of each politician. No one bothers to do a follow up on reported matters and expected or promised changes in policy or operations. No one wants to be the government’s watchdog for the benefit of the people.

Instead we spare 5 minutes to follow a campaign rally give each speaker 2 minutes airtime to pollute the mind of the electorate oh and as if that snot shallow enough follow up with assorted video footages that show the politicians position on some rumor or reaction to another politician, and then we go ahead and report on important issues in passing and look for humorous juicy tragedies to dwell on. We then cap it all with a leading, non-intelligent question;

Tonight we ask you do you think candidate A should team up with Candidate B? SMS your Yes and No answer to …

That is the sum total of NEWS from my country. That is what the journalism profession has been reduced to. Years and years of experience and studying, years and years of research reduced to 30 minutes of pure hogwash reported in an unintelligent manner.

As we give importance to the doctors to stick to the laws of their profession so should we insist on the Media to do what they are here to do, to quote Will McAvoy once again “… and for 23 hours a day, you should make a profit, but for one hour a night, you work for us.” in his apology to the electorate.
I think the Media houses in my country owe us an apology;

  1. they owe the young girl who will vote for the first time in March 2013 an apology for enforcing the belief that the next leader should come from a certain tribe,
  2. they owe the old man who lives in the rural area an apology for possibly helping him make the wrong choice of candidate every 5 years at the ballot since 1992
  3. they owe the 14 year old boy who has no clue on how to differentiate between issues and non issues making it hard for him to know for sure what he wants to be when he grows up an apology,
  4. they owe the baby being born today an apology for being born to a country that is full of debt, corruption and a self-defeating tax policy.
  5. they owe themselves an apology for allowing to be driven by self-conceitedness and denying themselves the opportunity to realize their full potential in growing their careers, for reducing their industry into an industry of jokers and morally unstable people, for not giving themselves an opportunity to realize the real power each individual has in making this country a better place.
  6. they owe the rest of world an apology for being a tainted window into our country, for not being able to paint the real picture of this country and for not being able to provide support structures that would expose the country to the rest of the world and/or bring the rest of the world to this country…
  7. they owe the whole country an apology for denying them access to relevant and factual information, denying them the whole analysis of a given picture from different angles, for denying them the power to make INFORMED decisions

I consider the manner in which the custodians of information and the people entrusted with dissemination of the said information conduct their business to be in moral turpitude and for that I demand an apology.



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