Opinion: Restrict Freedom of the PressWatch
The Fourth Estate in particular has a responsibility to truthfulness above that of the ordinary citizenry on the street or on Twitter. It exists in a place of trust and authority (well, more or less). So to see newspapers and news networks grooming the masses with partisan coverage, half-truths, disputable descriptions and 'soft' defamation is something that's incredibly troubling to me, and I believe troubling to an increasing number of people nowadays.
Adhering to laws of libel and slander as they currently stand is simply not enough. Journalists, as dispensers of news media, must be forced into non-partisan, political neutrality and must be forbidden from arguing any sort of point. They must state only who, what, where, and when accurately and in the most unbiased terms possible. Implementing this would admittedly be difficult, however. How does one objectively enforce neutrality? I have some ideas. For example, vocabulary like "far-right/left" or other political labels and politically charged words should be prohibited entirely, articles routinely fact-checked by an authority, and any content that would potentially violate these standards redacted from publication.
Another method is through the use of fear. Make examples and sacrifice a right-wing paper and a left-wing paper on the proverbial alter. Punish those who show too much partisanship and the others will begin to regulate themselves.
It's a working idea.
For example, vocabulary like "far-right/left" or other political labels and politically charged words should be prohibited entirely,
Most journalists contravening such code of ethics would strenuously deny the charge, particularly at the BBC. They are simply not professional enough to cloak their perfectly legitimate personal views, of course those of us who don't read the Guardian can tell them from the distance. It's what they choose to talk about, the choice of guests, everything they say and that they don't, it's like a perfect match for the Guardianista front page of the day. On most days, anyway.
Couldn't be enforced on a private news agency, though. They'd be at it all the time on what is partizan or not and if their audiences don't mind them being partial... so be it.
re policed language, no. heck no. i fully agree propagated language is a serious problem, but in the spirit of free speech and freedom of the press this is a terrible, terrible idea which i hope is self explanatory. way too far left.
imho we cannot put the burden on the press. the press is a business and ultimately they will look after themselves, which means giving readers what they want otherwise you don't stay in business. which means readers are the problem.
ergo, my solution is we put the burden on society. first -- we teach reading comprehension in schools beyond grade 4, so kids can identify the narrative, emotive language and tone, and identify holes in the story in adult themed literature; because clearly we don't have enough adults reading closely and questioning what they read. instead we have adults reading everything they agree with and which fuels their emotions (usually negative) because being angry and outraged is more fun than considering the issues. news stories that confirm your own beliefs and fuels emotions you already have feels good in the moment -- it makes you feel like you're not crazy, you're not alone, and by god you are right. it fuels your ego basically, which is unlike questioning your beliefs because then you might be wrong.
secondly, we need everyone (or the majority) to boycott newspapers until they start presenting stories that are fact based with no emotive language. but, unfortunately this will never happen, given my reasons above (our fuelled ego). but the school solution is workable i think; it's just going to take the majority of us to demand it. but how if we don't care?
John Sununu and CNN host. What is interesting is that most journalists guilty of political manipulation go nuts when you point it out to them, it's as if they really don't get it. And they probably don't, let's be that generous about them.