Important facts being left out of our “news stories”

30 Jan

Today we have multiple media outlets to inform us on daily newsworthy events. The difference is that in earlier times, people got their news through story telling. Historic entities were often exaggerated and elaborated on. Anything written back then, was automatically perceived to be true by communities. Yet one key issue is presented in both postmodern journalism and modern day journalism: Important facts being left out of a news story.

            Fear and Favor in the Newsroom by Beth Sanders depicts the press’ determination on eliminating controversial news information, to maintain a standardized corporate news image. Corporate newspapers were often owned by elite families, such as Cox newspapers with an estimated wealth of $4 billion. Coca Cola was accused of doing business in Russia and bribing Soviet Union officials. Chairman of the Atlanta Newspapers, Anne Cox Chambers, was also on the board of directors for Coca Cola during the scandals. Cox newspapers censored any stories showing Coca Cola in a bad light. At the time, editor of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Bill Kovach, resigned for what he believed to be an unethical move by the newspaper to censor what was really going on.

Newspaper reporters are encouraged to cover stories that people can use and hardly promote investigative stories. Investigative stories are motivation to get to the truth behind a story while having its viewers begin to ask questions, a dangerous avenue for corporate news. Lippmann argues that people would be satisfied with unproven facts if it allows them to escape the truth that seems intolerable or doesn’t sound good. People create their beliefs from the news they receive by how they perceive the world around them. “The adjustment of man to his environment takes place through the medium of fictions.” (Lippmann, Walter. Public Opinion. pg. 10)

“Fictions” used in Lippmann’s terms, was meant to be a depiction of an environment of lesser or greater degree according to man himself. Sensationalized news is not reality, though we can accept it to be true if we choose to be oblivious to independent news outlets. This is when the news people need to know and the news people know are both contradicting. In other words, when people are exposed to junk food news, they are consuming fiction of a much lesser degree, and audiences’ thoughts are in the hands of corporate media outlets such as NBC, CBS and ABC. In order for us to know if the information in a new story is properly being represented in order to inform us, we must question everything.

Sources

Fear and Favor in the Newsroom Film by Beth Sanders

Lippmann, “Introduction: The World Outside and the Picture in our Heads. “Public Opinion.

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