Pay Attention, Please

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This last section of Haiman really emphasizes that we have a responsibility as a reader. I have this website booked under my favorites because I am constantly checking what I read or hear on the news. I think, that while it is very easy to spread a lie or an "unfair" piece of information, it is just as easy to get caught. We have the access to the Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. From our phones, from our laptops, from our desktops; we are always connected. We can always check a fact. The problem is that most people just don't. They have their favorite news source and they stick with it no matter what is published (ahem Fox news, fair and balanced uh-huh sure).


So I will take Haiman's section as a call to increase public awareness of fact checking. Just because a journalist can publish something "unfair" doesn't mean the public should let them get away with it.


Greta Carroll said:

Haha, oh, Michelle, I love your blog and your reference to the “fair and balanced” Fox News. Fox News sent a reporter to my hometown once to interview locals on how they felt about some issue. The reporter went to the most disreputable bar in the town and interviewed people as they were leaving and then represented these people as typical of the town. Needless to say, interviewing drunk people as they leave a bar got them some interesting answers; however, it was not an accurate portrayal of people’s opinions in the area. Now, since we are talking about fairness after all, I will try to be fair to Fox News and recognize that most other news stations probably do/have done similar things. I definitely agree with the importance of fact-checking on the public’s part (I like the website you linked to, it seems like a good way to keep things in perspective). However, I think Haiman was also giving a lesson to reporters. Yes, the public should fact check, but reporters should not accept mediocrity in their standards. They are given a special right (freedom of the press), and they have a “social obligation” (Haiman’s words) not to abuse it.

Josie Rush said:

Michelle, I talk about social responsibility on my blog, as well. I am not underminding the role reporters play in the fairness of newswriting. Obviously first and foremost comes the journalists' honesty. However, for as much as it seems the public hates the press, let's not forget who gives the press its power. That's right, if the public would take the time to discern bias and then refuse to reward stations that misrepresent, those stations would no longer be successful. I know this is difficult for many, because we want our news quickly and painlessly. Well, maybe this is a call away from instant gratificiation as far as knowledge is concerned.

Michelle Tantlinger said:

I agree with both of you. Social obligation is definitely important for journalists to be aware of and to act on. I really like your story about Fox news Greta! And I do agree with you that sometimes the news is just out to create a story and other news stations besides Fox are guilty of misportrayals. Fox news is just synonymous with construed information!!

Jennifer Prex said:

It all goes back to the advice Dr. Jerz has given us in class several times: verify or duck. You're right. It can be too easy to include information that may not be true. If we're unable to verify it, our best option is to not use it.

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