What happened to ethical journalism?

I was interviewed last fall by Cal Perry of MSNBC.

By Heather Walton

At 17 years old, I entered Defense Information School (DINFOS) which is the military journalism training program; the preparation I received there was the best available. I learned early on that journalism must be ethical; as a novice reporter, I internalized that we were not even to flip a negative of a photo to improve its layout on the page. Nor were we to try to remember quotes; we were to take them down word-for-word, or else we would have to use an indirect quote. I often meticulously read quotes back to my interviewees to ensure accuracy.

The Journalist’s Creed and the SPJ Code of Ethics were integral to my profession and my professionalism. When writing a news story, I knew my job was to report the 5Ws and the H, “just the facts, ma’am,” without inserting bias. If I wanted to give an opinion, it had better come from someone else’s mouth in the form of a quote, and if possible and realistic, I needed to find other perspectives to highlight as well.

Today, I am dismayed at what passes for journalism. Consider the final plank of the Journalist’s Creed:

I believe that the journalism which succeeds best — and best deserves success — fears God and honors Man; is stoutly independent, unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power, constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance and, as far as law and honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship; is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world.

The Journalist’s Creed, Walter Williams, First Dean of Missouri School of Journalism

As far as I can tell, the mainstream media does the opposite of everything in this statement. In the past thirty or so years, journalism has evolved from being somewhat biased, but mostly delivering factual news, to shaping our opinions covertly and overtly. Today it seems that everything an op-ed piece. Peruse the stories of the major news outlets for more than five seconds and you’ll find language aimed at interpretation in every political article. Predigested news is the expectation in our drive-thru, 1000 mpbs-paced society. Apparently the powers that be at CNN, MSNBC, and yes, even Fox News think we are incapable of independent thought. Of maybe, on the contrary, they are afraid that we are.

It’s downright deplorable that the media is directing a political agenda designed to usher in socialism. They no longer report news; instead they manufacture it and suppress anything that gets in their way. According to the Journalist’s Code of Ethics, reporters are to “support the open and civil exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.” Today, we see a largely liberal agenda being pushed, and alternative views being demonized and “cancelled.” Rand Paul recently made this point in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, in which the interviewer practically interrogated the senator regarding whether he believed the presidential election was won by fraudulent means. Clinton’s former press secretary would not allow for the fact that “there are two sides to every story;” in fact, he would hardly allow Paul to answer the question he had posed.

“Where you make a mistake is that people coming from the liberal side like you, you immediately say everything’s a lie instead of saying there are two sides to everything. Historically what would happen is if said that I thought that there was fraud, you would interview someone else who said there wasn’t. But now you insert yourself in the middle and say that the absolute … fact is that everything that I’m saying is a lie . . . That’s the problem with the media today is they say all Republicans are liars, and everything we say is a lie. There are two sides to every story. Interview somebody on the other side, but don’t insert yourself into the story to say we’re all liars, because we do think there’s some fraud and the election needs to be fixed.”

Rand Paul to George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s “This Week,” January 24, 2021

Senator Paul said under fire what I’ve been articulating to friends for months: The media bias defies journalistic ethics. It’s like the modern media is completely ignorant of true journalism. Of course, this is part of a greater agenda. The 45 Communist Goals laid out in 1963 include infiltration of the press (See number 20.), and this one has been accomplished.

According to the Journalist’s Creed, “journalism which succeeds best … is profoundly patriotic.” I would submit that our modern media is anti-American, salivating over the soon demise of our democracy, riding in the Trojan Horse of social justice ideology. They compound the injury by eagerly ushering in an anti-Christian era, which is an affront to the Journalist’s Creed and an abomination to the ideals of our republic’s founders.

Where are the honest journalists? Where are those who uphold truth, democracy, and the right of free speech? Perhaps it’s time for us old-school reporters to return to our post for the good of our democracy and of the future generations who stand to benefit from our legacy.

If you have any interest in joining me on this quest, please respond. I’m interested in interviewing people about truth, and in joining with fellow writers in order to chronicle our true history in real time. Here is information on a journalism class.

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