I admit that I do not trust the motivations behind most political news stories, but I feel that political reporters of late have knuckled under to their bosses and have become the producers of stories that have high audience appeal, but are rarely of any importance, or relevance to what Canadians really need to know about the politician in question in order to make an informed decision on election day. The only things that need to be known about a story before it gets published in today’s world of political reporting seems to be:
- Whether or not the story passes legal mustered\ can the news agency be sued as a result running it.
- If waiting for the proof needed to validate the story will cost them the bragging rights of being the first to break the story.
It is hard for me to bring myself to call these creative writers that embellish the truth, political reporters. Watching the coverage of Justin Trudeau has reaffirmed for me that the rush to be first to tell a story and allowing personal opinion to overshadowed delivering an accurate, non-biased news report is the new for of journalistic integrity. No news agency can claim to be upholding the standards of excellence in journalism when they are all guilty at one time or another of going to air, publishing in its paper, or using mass media to pass off unfounded rumors about a politician today that it hopes to be able to back up with facts, instead of witnesses accusations that will not come forward in the future?
I no longer feel that the force driving political reporters to cover stories about politicians has anything to do with allowing Canadians to make informed decisions at election time. I think that the coverage of politicians has turned to character assignation and piling on, when the news media has decided for one reason or another that they do not like you personally, or to over glorification and puppy dog hero-worship when they do.
I do believe that political news coverage has been corrupted in the boardroom though and that political reporters have no choice, but to do what they are told by their employers and dig up dirt, or starve financially because no one will hire them, because the powers that be do not believe that journalistic integrity sells ads.
Canadian political news agencies who insist on their reporters upholding the standards of excellence in journalism and waiting for the proof before releasing a hot story when it comes to reporting on politicians find that the story has already been published by another not so reputable news agency, when it was just a non-provable allegation, because the race to say we told you first has been made the priority and journalistic integrity has been thrown out like yesterday’s dirty bath water.
I get the impression that when faced with the choice between selling ads/making a profit, or getting at the truth/keeping Canadians informed about things they need to know about politicians like their political views and platforms, their ideologies, the greed always seem to override the truth. If those who are responsible for handing out assignments and who do the hiring and firing of reporters believe that political reporting of just the facts relating to stories involving politicians are boring and do not draw a big enough audience to attract ad dollars, then how can political reporters that need to earn a paycheck be expected to do their job in a way that is professional, free of bias, following the rules of journalistic integrity. the problem is all of todays news coverage is sullied by embellishments, assumptions and the personal opinions of news reporters?
One only has to follow the reporting of Justin Trudeau to test Canadian political journalist sense of journalistic integrity. From the time it was suggested that he would run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Canada the Canadian press and it political reporters have not been able to report what is relevant to his ability to lead, his party, this country. Instead they concentrate their reporting on which churches, or Mosques he visits and when. Then there are what I consider the real important stories that get quick cameo coverage and ignored for more easy, fun things for the press, like more stories attacking , or trying to make fun of Justin Trudeau. I have not read, or heard one positive thing about Justin Trudeau in any coverage on any program that the CBC has aired. I have however see how is made to look like a bumbling fool, who takes no position on anything, while downplaying the obvious corruption and out-and-out lies coming out of the Harper camp and the dissatisfaction with Tom Mulcair from within his own ranks as members leave the party.
Political journalists in my opinion have been allowed to take freedom of the press to a level that disgusts me quite frankly. News agencies in general in my opinion have a new purpose and that is they are choosing to create the news, rather than simply reporting it. All too often now news agencies are hiring independent guest panelists who are featured on shows like Power and Politics in order to pass off the news agencies attacks on a particular politician, or the slanted coverage of political stories under the protection of being able to say, “The opinion you just hear are the personal views of so and so and in no way reflects the view of this station.” When you can actually see the reporters personal position and their like or dislike of a politician, I think that the coverage of the story is slanted and no longer can be considered to be objective. If news agencies are allowing their reporters to color their coverage, dictate how much coverage a politician gets and what type stories get ignored, or receive minimal coverage, how as the recipient of this coverage are we supposed to accept such information as factual, fair, unbiased? Whatever happened to the total reporting of political events that affect all Canadians and news about politicians that Canadians really need to know about to make informed decision at election time, rather than what sells ads like trying to make a politician look like a terrorist sympathizer for visiting a certain Mosque, or accusing politicians of being homophobic, or being anti gay, because they avail themselves of their right to not participate in the gay parade?
Finally I think that news agencies need to get rid of all the guest color commentators and cut out all personal feelings from the reporting of the news, so that the news can go back to resembling the news rather than watching, or reading the coverage of a local sporting event.