John Steinbeck was a famous American author and won the 1962 Nobel Prize for literature. He said, ” What can I say about journalism? It has the greatest virtue and the greatest evil. In many cases it is the only history that we have and yet it is the tool of the worst men, and over a long period of time and because it is the product of so many men, it is perhaps the purest thing that we have.” Celeste Huenegard in 1982 in Editor & Publisher had even stronger words about his profession when he said, ” Many news people are convinced that (The First Amendment) is the their own and perhaps believing it will make it true. The newsroom can be a bastion for the arrogant, the insular and the indifferent. New journalists are often too assertive, and often with managements blessing, they graduate from journalism schools, thinking they have to be hard-nosed and to hurt someone to get ahead.”
Don Graff of Newspaper Enterprise wrote, ” It is not good news that the news business in this country is not in such a good repute with the people of the country these days. The press is widely regarded as arrogant, overbearing, biased and obsessed with sensation and more interested in getting a story than in the rights of individuals and the interest of the nation.
Highly respected Howard Kurtz wrote in the Washington Post that, ” We are the architects of our own misfortune, sacrificing our credibility for a misguided notion for what sells. We seem to the outside world to be haughty and hypocritical, and holding others to a standard that we ourselves could never meet. There is a cancer eating away at the newspaper business, the cancer of superficiality and irrelevance and that radical surgery is needed.”
James Redfield in his book “The Tenth Insight” stated, ” I am a journalist. In the past we at least attempted to do our jobs with certain standards of integrity. But no longer. It is all hype and sensationalism and no one is looking for the truth anymore or trying to present it in the most accurate way. Journalists are looking for the scoop, the most outrageous perspective and every bit of dirt they can dig up.”
Mark Twain described some of our media perfectly when he said, “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.” Yet, I still believe that Carl Bernstein was correct when he said, “The media offers us the best attainable vision of the truth.”
Now, WE THE PEOPLE must be vigilant and not be led like sheep to be slaughtered. Do not be blinded by some of the members of the media and their negative and false facts. Will Rogers gave us good advice when he said, “it’s much easier to fool a man, than to convince him he’s been fooled.” My favorite is from Danish Philosopher, Soren Kierkgaard, “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t truth; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
Brown is a legendary former college basketball coach from Minot.