Thursday, August 25, 2016

Social Mores

I’m wondering where we are going as a society these days and even as a global humanity.

It seems there are more deceptions, disagreements, and more contentions within our frequent exchanges of thought and action. Daily transactions often end in arguments over innocuous issues. Negotiations over important matters in the chambers of government and corporate boardrooms lack conversational courtesy and compromise.

What has happened to us? Are we so cemented in a blind opinion that we refuse to consider another thought or idea as valid? Are we so busy, so tied to the construct of time, that we cannot read a little more, research a bit more and even change the channel once in awhile to hear another viewpoint?

My career as a reporter, writer, and producer in broadcast television began and was sustained in the era of fairness and strict rules. There were and are always more than two sides to every story, and you were not a good reporter unless you sought out and checked all conceivable sides to the story and reported only the facts as you discovered them. If you didn’t, there was always a reliable, experienced senior editor who demanded you verify your facts and eliminate conclusions or the story did not run.

These old editors were not just sticklers on facts and fairness they were curmudgeons on grammar and spelling. Find that today in the television newsrooms of America.

I see more blatant errors in news stories today than I ever did.

I see more opinion in news stories today than ever would have been allowed in my era and should not be allowed today.

Opinion should be left to the certified experts and not to the reporter of the story. We, as free citizens, have the responsibility to inform ourselves by listening, reading and watching widely.

To listen to only one station, read one newspaper, or read one magazine you are narrowly informed about as much as a flashlight beam lights the whole darkness.

How do we as a society, with a multitude of informational choices, get back to informational accuracy and fairness and back to social and intellectual civility?

I think if society embraces courtesy and civility first, the media will have no choice, but to follow. The media today is a reflection of all social mores. And that's a shame. The News media today needs to ge back to its foundations and "speak reason to power."

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