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Tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God.

"Everyone is familiar with the observation that the closer we are to an event that makes the news, the less satisfied we are with the coverage," as stated in It Ain't Necessarily So. We have all watched "Breaking News" develop on the television right before our eyes. One familiar event we all remember is the infinite coverage of September 11, 2001. In the early morning hours between 9-11 am, the only sight we saw on TV was the twin towers in NYC collapsing from the planes darting into them. As this instance was reported, no one had any information as to WHY this happened or WHO was behind it. All that could be told was WHERE, WHEN, and WHAT. All of our questions could not be answered, leaving us in utter shock as well as dissatisfaction. As Americans, we are used to fast, accurate information. That infamous day's mysteries could not be answered immediately, which is something people expect.
Later on, as theories and evidence unfolded, we started to believe everything we were told by the media and government officials. We put trust in a journalist's work that they are telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them, God. How many people died in the terrorist attacks that day? Iqbal's article suggests less than 3000, an accurate count for September 15, 2001. Later on the toll was settled on 2974 plus 19 highjackers.
Even as a journalist tries to fit the needs of the reader, it needs to be the truth and %100 accurate. If you need statistics, get statistics that support the claim or opinion of the sources. If you need the IQ levels of 12 Harvard graduates, get 12 IQ scores of Harvard graduates. You can't beat around the bush and substitute the truth.
The sooner the truth comes out, the more satisfied the readers will be.

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Comments

We need the truth, otherwise when people ask us for the news, we may report inaccurate information to them, spreading a lie. While we're on the issue of September 11th, let's take a look at all those reports about the 9-11 comission and the "facts" that Bush may or may not have known about the attack beforehand? The negative reports may be because we want to be able to place the blame on someone, but in the last 6 years, there have been so many conflictiong reports about weapons of mass destruction, Osama, the 9-11 comission, and Bush's alleged prior knowledge of the planned attack that now,when we see reports on these topics, we don't know what to believe. And that's a shame. When something actually truthful about one of these topics comes out, many may not believe it. I call it the "cried wolf" effect.

It's not that the journalists are always deliberately attempting to hide the truth- just like you said Tiffany, sometimes the information just isn't there at the time the article was written. However, at times it does seem like there is another agenda for the journalists- that they intentionally hide information in order to make a story "work".

Do we ever get the information we really want? I don't think so, because if the media gives us, consumers, all the information in one shot, then they can not drag the story out for a whole week. If you notice, stroies are shown in steps. Ex.(day 1) A rapist was found in the Homestead area of Pittsburgh.(day 2) The Homestead rapist struck again overnight in the area. (day 3) police are investigating a suspect in the Homestead rpaist case (day 4) Another rape happened this afternoon in the Blawnox area of Pittsburgh (day 5) The suspect in this weeks Homestead rapist case was released (day 6) Police have arrested another suspect in the Blawnox/ Homestaed rape cases. (day 7) Police have arrested John Q. Public in connection with this weeks rape cases in the Pittsburgh. Public sits in the Allegheny County Jail in lieu of a 60,000.00 bond. Trila is set for late February. The news leaves situations like this open.

I'll second what Nessa wrote. We can't fault journalists for going public with the incomplete information that they have at deadline, but it is a problem when journalists choose to ignore certain information that doesn't fit their angle.

Along with what Vanessa said, I was wondering the whole time I read the case study about illegitimate births, whether or not the second story wasn't published to hurt President Clinton's reputation, considering that he took credit for the drop. But then again why wouldn't the press want to write about that? Maybe it is simple because the oversaw the bigger fact. Will we ever really know?

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