Trading Truth for Access

Democracy Now! Host and Executive Producer Amy Goodman has some choice words about the state of journalism in America:

“The main… what you call serious news outlets have compromised their integrity by acting as a megaphone for those in power… for what I call the access of evil. That is trading truth for access.”

She says in the video interview [minutes 00:23-1:09] conducted by Huffington Post columnist and celebrity photographer Kimberly Butler. The column is entitled “Is Medium the Message?” and this week’s dealt with the politicalization of the medium. (Butler’s word, not mine.)

Amy Goodman makes the point that journalists nowadays merely want the story that sells so they’re willing to jeopardize their integrity and the ‘harder’ news questions in favor of the money the ‘softer’ news will rake in. We are all aware that the American public can stomach stories about infidelity scandals and cute puppies over statistics related to war casualties or the like, but does it have to come at the expense of journalism itself? Should it?

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One thought on “Trading Truth for Access

  1. I have to believe that this is true. I have worked for 4 different news institutions in my time in college– two of them are Loyola-based. I have to be honest when I say that Loyola has a tendency to be more hard-hitting and take on the “tougher”, more serious topics. The local and national TV stations I worked at did focus on softer news rather than hard hitting news.

    Do I think this is wrong or unethical? No. If there is a strong, important and hardhitting news story, any reputable news source will run that story over a fluff piece. The hard part is, there simply is not a 9/11 or Enron story every single day. When I worked for WGN morning news, they had 4 hours of news to fill EVERY day. It’s simply not practical to say there will be four hours of hardhitting news every day. They re-ran their top stories two or three times an hour, but many of the unique segments that aired two times in a broadcast were silly, cute, or informative of about the happenings in the city of Chicago. Iraq war coverage, they are not.

    While I think this post is TRUE is some regards, I do not think it’s necessarily unethical or even a blame game for the “weak” news industry. I think reputable news sources air the hard hitting stuff and fill with fluff stuff and other news sources never stood a chance anyway and their lack of funds on national coverage shouldn’t make them unethical. A story on a local dentist doing charity work might be what their target audience is more interested in.

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