I was raised to believe that in journalism there should be one primary goal and that is to strive to tell the truth in your storytelling. In school we were shown the late Walter Cronkite as a sort of role model for what journalism should be. It told the story of the world in which we live and told it without any sort of bias.
For years now I have grown increasingly disenchanted with the mainstream media as it is quite apparent that every news organization has its own bias whether it is leaning toward one side of the political spectrum or the other. I noticed that, for example, some newspapers tend to show mostly photographs of President Obama with facial expressions that can only be read negatively. He is either frowning or looks angry or disappointed. It could be an article about his giving a speech at a fundraiser for orphan children in Eastern Kentucky and somehow the newspaper would find the only moment when he wasn’t looking good to take a photograph. These same newspapers only refer to the President with nicknames instead of proper names like President Obama or the President.
On the other hand, there are news organizations that are just the opposite. This is not any better because a news organization cannot pretend that every single decision made by The President has been good — even the President has strong words to say about his own performance since his inauguration.
I was very pleased to find out that NPR, the increasingly multimedia news organization that is not just a fantastic source of news but quality news, has changed its policies regarding journalism. I had always known that NPR was more of a left leaning organization in the same way that CNN is a left leaning organization. No more — they are now fully committed to complete and total truth in journalism above all else.
They will be doing this not by seeking so-called balance in their stories but only an accurate portrayal of what happens in every story. Furthermore, they will reveal in the course of a story if their sources attempted to sway them one way or another. It is not enough to show both sides of a story if the evidence shows that one side of the story is completely in the wrong. For example, it would not be helpful to an article about Pol Pot to feature an interview with the babysitter that said what a fantastic person he was in making tea when he was younger.
I look forward to see how the new policies will shape their news stories in the future.