Objective Journalism, Does it Exist?

Batya Medad ,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
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Batya Medad
New York-born Batya Medad made aliyah with her husband just weeks after their 1970 wedding and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Political pundit, with a unique perspective, Batya has worked in a variety of professions: teaching, fitness, sales, cooking, public relations, photography and more. She has a B.S. in Journalism, is a licensed English Teacher specializing as a remedial teacher and for a number of years has been studying Tanach (Bible) in Matan. Batya blogs on Shiloh Musings and A Jewish Grandmother. ...

Objective Journalism, Does it Exist?

I used to be a real newshound, addicted to listening to the news, reading whatever newspapers I could find, watching news shows. Yes, the whole works. And I loved the dynamics of politics ever since I was a teen. Now, as you may have noticed from the blog posts here, I'm disgusted and horrified.

There is nothing that even vaguely resembles objective news reporting. Not only do they all have their agendas, but there's no such thing as fact checking. It's beyond ignorance. There's an innocence in ignorance, but nowadays a don't see that at all. There are vicious attacks, like a modern version of the auto-da-fé.

An auto-da-fé or auto-de-fé (from Portuguese auto da fé [ˈaw.tu dɐ ˈfɛ], meaning "act of faith") was the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition, Portuguese Inquisition or the Mexican Inquisition had decided their punishment, followed by the execution by the civil authorities of the sentences imposed. 
The most extreme punishment imposed on those convicted was execution by burning. In popular usage, the term auto-da-fé, the act of public penance, came to mean the burning at the stake. Wikipedia

Media interviews are more like either vicious interrogations or the fawning style seen in simplistic fan magazines of old.

At first I was very excited to discover that we could watch BBC News on our television, since I had happily listened to the radio version for decades. Then I had considered it, except for news on Israel*, pretty objective. But as the last American Presidential Campaign began to heat up, their support for Hillary and the Democrats so distorted their reports I could no longer trust their objectivity about anything. And not only hasn't it gotten better, it has gotten much worse. We don't have cable, just a simple "dish," and recently we don't even get the Israeli stations. CNN was never known for its objectivity.

Then  I discovered the English French TV News Channel, and I had great hopes for it, since it's not that interested in American news. I began watching it, but then they began a feature about the Israel-Arab "conflict." It begins with:

"In 1967  Israel invaded..." 

Grrr... That's what people all over the world think, and what is taught in universities even in the USA. And I have this nasty, frightening feeling that even some Israelis are oblivious to the facts, the Arab aggression that led up to the 1967 Six Days War. In order to survive, Israel had no choice other than shoot first.

About thirty 30 years ago, in the days when we hosted many journalists of an amazing selection of international media, I had a talk with a top editor of an American newspaper. I asked him what training, education he looked for when hiring someone starting in the profession. He said that he does not like to hire those with degrees in journalism, since they don't know anything other than how to write. He looks for those who majored in History, Economics, Science etc.

"Any knowledgeable university graduate can be taught how to write a good article, but I can't teach a Journalism graduate facts."

Things have changed drastically in the international media. I no longer have objective sources to learn current events and get an accurate idea of what's really happening in politics. I just know what's happening on the ground here in Israel, but not from the media. Today fake news is all over, and when trying to check accuracy, you really need to be an expert. This is both dangerous and sad. People are making decisions based on lies, fantasies, fake news and worse.

I can't see how it will get better. I am pessimistic for the future.

Here's a picture of a program from the French news channel.

*During the Intifada Part 1, I was horrified to hear an excited BBC radio reporter telling that he was with Arabs throwing rocks on Jews and how they tried to protect their eyes from the teargas the Israeli soldiers aimed at them to stop them. And in those days BBC even came to our house to film us and ask us questions.