Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

Praising the work of a free and democratic press

The Globe and Mail “celebrates” the role of mainstream media following a year of fake news, Nazi-era cries of “lugenpresse!” (lying press) being revived and other attacks mounted on them.

From the Globe and Mail (“In praise of, dare we say it, the media“):

The ideal that reporters are to be unbiased, and try to find and serve objective truth, will always be extremely difficult to achieve. It will never be perfectly attained, because humans, even ones trying to follow an ethical code, aren’t robots. But if 2016 has shown us anything, it’s much better than the idea that media outlets should be entirely uninterested in objective truth, and should instead ruthlessly promote an agenda, or advance a political party, and using the cloak of “media” as a cover. Or that, because of trumped-up bias allegations, it is justifiable to publish completely invented tales, without a second thought to the consequences. It is one thing to do your best and fall short; it happens every day to journalists and to all human beings. It is another to deliberately and malevolently do your worst.

It is also a self-serving conclusion to reach that says, because mainstream newspapers make mistakes and mainstream politicians lie, a fair alternative is to be belligerently untruthful. There are people in both the Trump camp and the anti-Trump camp who no longer believe in “facts.” There is only power and spin. Some mean that as a statement of despair, and we can empathize. Some mean it as a credo of smiling, opportunistic cynicism.

If facts don’t exist, the world is in a hell of a pickle. So let’s celebrate that, across Canada and around the world, there are buildings filled with people who stake their living – and even their lives; 74 journalists were killed in 2016, according to Reporters Without Borders – on the counterproposition. Without a set of norms and principles that are defended vigilantly and in a non-partisan way, societies can fall apart. Liberal democracy depends on a healthy free press closely watching our increasingly large and complex governments. The media, digging up what politicians, CEOs and bureaucrats would rather you not know, or saying things that those in power would prefer were not said, are an indispensable mechanism for ensuring an informed public.

Tue, December 27 2016 » Main Page, Media