A couple of weeks ago, I posted about the ease in which the media is misled these days. I think it’s ego and a basic belief that it’s (the collective media) above reproach. Two more events, ironically, both occurring this weekend, have only cemented that consensus.
First, the Washington Post, for whatever bizarre reason, decided to open up slots for those wishing to read the 24,000+ Sarah Palin emails and then comment or “decipher” them for the rest of the world. Needless to say, the battle lines were drawn. The publication was either “crazy as hell” (as one reader put it) or brilliant as all get-out (another reader’s take). I’m more prone to side with the former. I think there’s a strong lack of ethics WaPo is exhibiting.
If you’ve been keeping up with the kidnapping of the young woman in Damascus, you know she maintained a blog for several months. Amina Abdallah Araf claimed to be a lesbian living in severe oppression in the Middle East due to her sexuality. Frankly, I’d never heard of her until a blog post, written by her cousin, surfaced earlier this month. In it, the cousin says Amina had been kidnapped in Syria during the nation’s uprising. The post went on to say that her family was extremely worried about her and that no one knew where she was. Naturally, the media took it, no questions asked, and elevated this young woman practically to sainthood. The only problem? Amina Abdallah Araf does not exist. Seems the media forgot to incorporate its fact checking efforts into this story. Tom MacMaster, the true author, posted on the blog today his apology.
Have the standards of journalism gone to the wayside in this never-stop society? The drive to be the first agency to break a story seems to be top priority these days with no primary focus on the factual aspects of any situation. Granted, traditional methods of reporting the news have suffered big hits courtesy of the internet, but that really is no excuse for a lack of ethics. We all must adapt to a changing society – including news outlets.