Friday, March 19, 2004

The year of the liars

First, I am furious the president of the USA hired actors to play journalists in a taxpayer-paid advertisement for his health care plan and passed it along to TV stations across the country as "news." The original story came from The New York Times, which had a credibility problem this year as well.

Speaking of liars...
USA Today, finalized and released the findings of an investigation (or there wouldn't be an AP story today) about their star reporter Jack Kelley. The Associated Press states, "the newspaper's former star foreign correspondent had fabricated substantial portions of at least eight major stories."

The McPublisher stated, "As an institution, we failed our readers by not recognizing Jack Kelley's problems. For that I apologize."

For some of us, our profession is a calling, not a job. I could list many reasons for other people NOT to choose this career, but I can't imagine doing anything else. I must let people know what's happening around them and why. I must tell the truth - even if people don't like it or it's not very exciting.

After we all work so hard to gain the trust of our communities, I can't understand why so-called journalists blatantly lie. I don't think this year is an indicator of an epidemic as much as it's a purging of the system. Those who fabricate, lie, cheat and steal will be caught and fired.

Journalistic betrayal is particularly saddening to me because I believe in competition. Others could now dismiss competition as driving good journalists to do bad things. Garbage. Bad journalists do bad things until they get caught. If they win an award for it, it's a double tragedy.

I don't believe they'll do it, but after organizations strip awards from liars, they should be upright enough to bestow these awards on those who truly deserved the award legitimately. The Olympics do it, why shouldn't the award committees?

Folks, Yellow Journalism, fabricated stories, set-up pictures and altered pixels (digital liars) are relics of past failures. Cling to them and condemn yourself to the same history.

Enough for now,

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