MSM influence is Slip-sliding Away

A  PARADIGM  HAS  SHIFTED and the traditional news media will never return to the good old days of civil discourse in the marketplace of ideas. Professional and honest news people, regardless of their political inclinations, must now contend with a growing number of crazed or crooked posers and provocateurs. The marketplace has become so confused that many people, even those trying to, cannot discern the difference between real and fake news.

And while this is not be the first time news media have faced criticism from politicians, the current assault by the Trump administration and others exhibit overtones similar to those found as part of or prelude to repressive governments in less democratic countries.

Some news organizations (CNN, New York Times, MSNBC) are beginning to run ads promoting their vital Fourth Estate role in America.  HOWEVER, THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR A UNITED FRONT BY ALL TRADITIONAL, LEGITIMATE NEWS OUTLETS.

News industry companies and associations need to act now to reach every level of society and regain the respect and attention the Fourth Estate requires to remain viable in our democracy. All the changes the news media has experienced in the past decade in terms of delivery platforms, eyes-on-the-page and credibility are small compared to the catastrophic hammering it is taking now.  Although readers and viewers are growing in some areas, there is a real danger of losing credibility with vast swaths of demographics for years, possibly generations, to come.

A MASS MEDIA CAMPAIGN WITH A SET OF UNIFIED MESSAGES AND APPEARANCE IS NEEDED TO BREAK THROUGH THE NOISE FOUND ON-AIR, ONLINE, IN PRINT, AT THE WATER COOLER AND ACROSS THE DINNER TABLE.

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FAKE NEWS is cheap and effective

FROM THE GUARDIAN: “”Fake News Machine research comes amid increasing concern about hacking elections and the ways that fake news on social media has manipulated voters.””

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2017/jun/13/fake-news-manipulate-elections-paid-propaganda

Mass Media Campaign Needed to Counter Fake News

Everyone from the president on down should know there is a new rule: If you don’t have the proof, you don’t get the pudding.

It is imperative that honest news gatherers — be they liberal, conservative, one person hunched over a laptop or an international conglomerate in a skyscraper — defend themselves as an institution with its own formal and informal checks and balances on other American institutions, most notably government and business.

The news media needs a large-scale, unified outreach campaign to re-establish the respect and credibility it desperately needs. The campaign should focus on several goals.

First, explain to every American why the First Amendment and freedom of the press are essential in a thriving democracy along with teaching the difference between real news and fake news. Also, point out the necessity for government transparency, accessibility and accountability. (One rough idea: billboards showing doors to a meeting room closed with a “NO ENTRY” sign on the door knob. The caption reads: “What is the government doing behind closed doors? A free people need a free press.”)

Today’s professional journalists have solid educations; understand their subject matter; seek out multiple, reliable sources; fact check; accept oversight from experienced supervisors and will correct mistakes.

Furthermore, freedom of the press is worthless if not tied inextricably to an ethical and moral obligation to be accurate and truthful.

So, second, the industry needs to identify reporters and news organizations that adhere to a code of ethics and professional standards as outlined by several news associations and organizations, displaying such designations just as other professionals (i.e. CPAs) do.

Third, the industry should devise a basic, agreed-upon industry-wide “Reality Check” pointing out accuracy hits and misses, as best as can be determined. This should focus on national, state and local officials and, importantly, the news media itself.

Also, sources, from the president on down, should know there is a new rule: If you don’t have the proof, you don’t get the pudding. (Back it up or it won’t be published or aired or it will be tagged as false.)

Overall, though, journalists will be most influential in bolstering their image by generating a steady flow of accurate stories that are fair to everyone yet fearful of no one.