In Is the Media Ready to Stop Letting Politicians Lie?Sarah Jaffe says
In a new revision of the news organization's 2003 code of ethics, NPR commits itself not just to finding “balance” in its stories, but to prioritizing truth, making sure to actually inform listeners when one “side” of a story is upheld by the facts.
The long tradition of the Right's “working the refs”--screaming about nonexistent bias—has in part led to a system where reporters are afraid of the slightest hint of bias.
As Greenwald pointed out, “The most damaging sin of this stenographic model isn’t laziness — the failure to subject false statements to critical, investigative scrutiny — although that is part of it. The most damaging sin is that it’s propagandistic: it converts official assertions and claims from the most powerful into Truth, even when those assertions and claims are baseless or false.”
Now, maybe NPR's move toward checking the facts of politicians and others with power won't swing an election or prevent another war. But it is a very important start toward putting the focus of journalism, especially public service journalism, back where it belongs—telling the truth, and calling those in power on their lies.
I've searched my conscience and I can't for the life of me find any justification for this. I simply cannot accept that there are, on every story, two equal and logical sides to an argument.
-- Edward R. Murrow
Going for the truth over "balance" is nothing new. Murrow all but insisted on it 60 years ago. He repeatedly went to the mat for the truth back when it seemed that the whole of the United States was intimidated by the junior senator from Wisconsin and his lackeys. Funny thing - said senator came out on the short end of that little conflict.
The problem has become that those in power have decided that the news has to make a profit, a la the famous (or infamous) movie, Network. As a result, some news departments as a result go more for the viewership than the hard stuff ... yet some haven't. What remains for the viewership is to stop being seduced by bread and circuses and insist on the real deal from our news sources and maybe, just maybe, they'll give it to us. If they don't, then we tell them not to let the door hit them on the way out and resort to other sources, such as NPR. Oh, and while we're at it, if we DO listen to NPR, once a year we open our wallets and actually SUPPORT it.
I think Murrow would approve.