Friday, January 15, 2010

Does the News Lie?

A site I frequent for some of my tech news published an article yesterday about the "news" knowingly lying about science. You can read John Timmer's article here. This came on the heels of a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism that print journalists are more likely than other sources of news to publish a story with new news. At the same time, the study showed that broadcast entities were more likely to produce more news content.

Ironically, how many times does your local or national newscaster say, "This morning the Acme News reported..."? While they produce more content, they get much of it from the newspapers doing the research. But if Timmer is right, the newspapers get stuff intentionally wrong which then leads the broadcasters to get it wrong, too.

Let's just take a moment to remember how important it is to check a variety of news sources when we form our opinions. Your opinion on politics, science, sports, education and the environment may finally have a solid base if you pay attention to more than just one specific newspaper or news broadcast each day. Mix it up. For you in Utah, listen to KUER in the morning when you head to work. On the way home, switch it over to KSL. They're different animals. You probably find one of them more cuddly than the other, but you can't know the whole story when you only get one side. Feel free to watch Fox News for a bit tonight. But grab a few stories from CNN, as well. Both are right, and both are wrong. Both have facts, and both will skew them and skewer them.

Like my mom used to explain when my little sisters and I would fight as kids, the truth is always somewhere in the middle.


Kel said...

Sometimes I wish I had stayed in my media ethics class so we could talk about stuff like this. Scott has a definite opinion though. Good reminder to check multiple sources, I think I will make that my goal this week.

Ryan said...

Am I part of your RSS, or were you that bored this morning? Thanks for remembering your brother! I'd love to hear Scott's opinion on the issue.