Journalism Gets No Respect, Poll Says

According to a recent Pew poll, respect for the contributions of journalists to society has sunk considerably since 2009, dipping especially low among women. I wonder why. In an article I wrote on the fallacy of consensus science, I quoted from Michael Crichton’s brilliant 2003 lecture “Aliens Cause Global Warming” about the deterioration of journalism and the media:

The deterioration of the American media is dire loss for our country. When distinguished institutions like the New York Times can no longer differentiate between factual content and editorial opinion, but rather mix both freely on their front page, then who will hold anyone to a higher standard?

In spite of all the claims like “We Report … You Decide” or “Fair and Balanced,” it is obvious that news organizations are more interested in giving the paying audience what they want to hear rather than giving them the facts. Most people can’t handle the facts. They want the selected facts couched in terms that reinforce their self-image. So conservatives are more likely to watch Fox News. Liberals are more likely to watch MSNBC or CNN (although I’m not sure anyone is watching them anymore). But why should it matter if it is just the facts? Shouldn’t the facts be the same no matter who gives them?

In an age where people care more about being entertained than being informed, news agencies have had to out-sensationalize their competitors in order to stay afloat financially. Dry and balanced facts do not make tantalizing news. And commentary has become just as important, if not more important, as delivering the news. Most journalists, as Crichton said, are commenting as much as they are reporting. That’s definitely the case with all of my articles (if you would even call me a “journalist”). That’s because I want to make this stuff interesting to the reader. Ultimately, readers have demanded more opinionated journalism.

It is ironic that the very people who are responsible for the shift from factual journalism, the readers, should then express a lowered opinion of the journalism they demand with their dollars and page views. We can’t have it both ways. If we really cared about journalistic integrity, we would pay for it. As it is, this poll kind of reads like this to me: “I don’t respect that woman anymore. She’s a whore. Why do I say that? She slept with me.”

34 responses

  1. What it is:  Yellow Journalism
    Yellow journalism, in short, is biased opinion masquerading as objective fact. Moreover, the practice of yellow journalism involved sensationalism, distorted stories, and misleading images for the sole purpose of boosting newspaper sales and exciting public opinion.

    • knusselWhoever controls the media also controls opinions and attitudes of the people and there is little that can be done to rectify this.

  2. Mainstream media? Don’t you mean the government controlled media? Or, the coddle to Liberals media? Or, anti-Christian and Jewish media? Or, treat conservatives as heartless people media? Or, only report crimes committed against Blacks but not crimes committed BY Blacks media? Or, not reporting ALL the facts on an issue media? All of these are accurate descriptions of today’s “journalism.”
    And they wonder why their respect has gone downhill. Unbelievable!!!

    • Daniel from TN Jewish media?  With all the pro Muslim and pro Obama, who is so obviously anti-Israel, bias?
      BTW, I don’t believe Obama is a Muslim.  I think he is actually an atheist, just as is the typical Marxist.  His Muslim friendliness stems from his view of the United States and Israel as oppressors and exploiters.

      • GeoInSD Daniel from TN 
        I believe Daniel meant to say anti-Christian and anti-Jewish.  I did a double take on that one, too.

      • GeoInSD Daniel from TN Some people believe Obama is the antichrist, and some people also believe that Islam is the religion of Satan, and use the Qur’an to prove their belief.  To be an atheist you can’t believe in GOD, nor His fallen Angels, which Satan is the leader of.  But the antichrist, supposedly Satan’s son, would believe in his fathers religion and be a Muslim in the human condition.  To me it all seems to be plausible, and it all may fit together, for there are stranger things in Heaven and on Earth, and I don’t really believe Obama is an atheist.  Something has to explain Obama’s strange and inconsistent actions.

  3. Whatever happened to Huntley and Brinkly style journalists? For those to young to remember they researched the story and presented ONLY the  story YOU made up your own mind! you could not tell if they were lib or con just good readers! Then came the meet the press’ and face the nations and crossfire then we LOST independent thought! The people became sheeple!

  4. And that is because there is a very limited number of journalist who report the truth and deserve respect!

    • USA Retired I believe the paper itself dictates which slant will go left or right to the story.  After all, they are paying the bills.  The only newspaper I trust right now is the Christian Science Monitor.  There may be others, and if you know, let me know.  I also like “Heritage” papers.

  5. Do we give prejudice and biased people respect?  If not, then you know why journalists get no respect, and deserve none.  Journalists are suppose to report the news in an unbiased and unprejudiced matter, being fair and treating all equal, not propagandizing for their own political beliefs, and the public knows and understands that journalists today do not live up to these standards, hence they get and deserve no respect.  Not all journalists fits this description, but unfortunately the huge majority of journalists do, and give those good journalists a bad reputation, as the liberal biased mainstream media does.  In the USA today, the liberal biased mainstream media voluntarily report for the liberal progressive Democratic agenda, as Pravda was forced to report for the USSR’s Communist Party, and most of the time they hide the truth from the American people when it hurts their liberal idealism, and those that they pander to.

  6. Very few journalists around anymore…and they aren’t in the lame st media. You idiots lost your credibility long ago… and crapped on your oath, just like your puppet master crapped on his.

  7. That’s why there are categories for ‘News’ and for ‘Editorials’ and two should be properly identified as which they are. 
    There is still a place for papers and magazines to provide the ‘opinions’ that some readers want; and the ‘facts’ that others desire.  They should be careful to identify which the piece is; and they don’t!  
    They present one as if it were the other.  That is unprofessional and misleading.  I don’t want to be lead; but, I certainly don’t want to be mislead!  As a result, I have quit reading both newspapers and news magazines.  I read both liberal and conservative news sites and try to sort the wheat from the chafe.  It is just a little harder telling which is which.

  8. Journalists get the same amount of respect that they offer others. If respect is lacking they only need to look inwards. Research your info, corroborate it, validate it and finally sign your name to it. If all is true then you will be respected – but, if like many of our “leaders” today the B.S. is so thick it is too  much for a person to take. Journalism seems to have all but disappeared and politico B.S. has taken over. If you earn it then it will come. Until then practice what you would want someone to say about you and yours and it will fly.

  9. Yellow journalism has been around for as long as there have been newspapers. It never was respected…nor were those who claimed to believe it. The difference is that, at one time, most news sources TRIED to be somewhat objective. Some newspapers leaned a bit to the right or left, but educated people agreed that you could “never believe everything you read in the paper”. That was before 24 hour news on T.V.
    It’s not the fault of viewers that 24 hours a day is a lot of time for TV news channels to fill, nor that news channels are competing with every mode of entertainment that grabs viewers attention. When the “news” had half an hour at dinnertime and half an hour at bedtime, reporters had to be thrifty with words. They didn’t have time for opinions. And traditional journalism at the time taught “objectivity” as the primary virtue.
    Those were times when news commentators were popular because of a certain demeanor that was appealing to an audience but, seldom if ever dramatic. People “trusted” and respected certain newscasters because they felt their role was conveying facts. They insulted no one (except perhaps, in a mild way, some foreign dictator). It became almost a game trying to figure out the political preferences of various newsmen. Such was the ilk of Huntley and Brinkley. News broadcasts were not popularity contests. Huntley and Brinkley were liked partly because of their ritual, pleasant politeness to each other.
    Our society has changed a lot since then. Crudeness of speech and deliberately inflammatory confrontations are not only acceptable, but popular..
    I do not know if cable news programs are more a cause, or a result, of this social climate.

    • dosmo71 You are so right. And, I watched part of Miley’s singing concert tonight…Justin B. and she and Madonna, etc. do not have any nice melodies…just a bunch of “chanting,” or in opera is called “recitative.”  ‘With loads of technical flash, booms, almost getting them to riot mode, like witches.

      • texasjo dosmo71  I know what you mean. Sometimes I think the main thing that keeps me from becoming a “music” star is my age (old) and my figure (old and baggy). I call yell lyrics as well as anybody!

    • the_punnisher  Reporting is: “the facts, ma’m, nothing but the facts, please.”  How do we write the facts without a slant.  Journalism tells what’s under the facts.  The problem is, can be slanted both ways.  I found I must read several reports or journals about the same thing and see what matches!

      • texasjo the_punnisher That is the problem when someone DELIBERATELY omits facts. That is the beginning of slanted journalism.
         I’ve had several College level JOURNALISM ( not REPORTING ) classes. Discussion was more about ” how to get YOUR point across ” and NOT so much about observing and reporting facts. My physics and chem classes taught me much more about REPORTING FACTS and I’ve made good money being a Scientist and Engineer ( they are NOT the same thing ).
        That is why I DESPISE Journalists! I am forced to use other references to an event that has happened.  Too many JOURNALISTS LIE BY OMISSION.

        • the_punnisher texasjo You recognize propaganda.  Not many do.  Good for you searching for the truth.  You sound like a very intelligent person.  I worked for scientists and engineers in research and development.  Loved it.

        • the_punnisher texasjo  I remember the joy of getting the newspaper delivered… getting up … getting the newspaper…sitting down for that first cup of coffee!  Reading the news, Ann Landers and Erma Bombeck.  Now it’s mostly trash… I’d rather read Cosmopolitan..actually I’d rather poke my eyes out before reading that crap!

        • texasjo the_punnisher They lie and distort to sell their papers/magazines..it all bottom line…as they criticize Capitalism.

        • LadyBGood the_punnisher texasjo I threw the morning paper the San Jose ( CA ) Mercury before going to school and the extra big Mercury-News Sunday edition. 
          As a Scientist, I gave the ” building block numbers that gave us the redesigned X-MP and Y-MP supercomputers.
          As an Engineer, I have worked in Robotics. IT and infrastructure and the new DARPAnet which became the WWW we are using right now.
          That is why I get upset when most JOURNALISTS abuse the net.

        • the_punnisher LadyBGood texasjo Have you seen Alternet? The few articles I’ve read, aren’t bad…but the membership is so far left I think they slid off the planet!

        • the_punnisher LadyBGood texasjo Would love to hear your story written, or as an example of what one can do!  Bravo…I applaud you for the hard work and effort, it paid off.  I think Ross Petro started throwing newspapers!  Look where he is!  .

  10. I DESPISE Journalists who claim they are REPORTING the news; that means ALL journalists!
    TRUE, OBJECTIVE REPORTING means ALL THE FACTS, not skewing the data to become GIGO or to submit ONLY THE FACTS THAT SUPPORT THE JOURNALIST’S AGENDA!
    That GIGO started when influence peddling became a major factor in the M$M back in the 60’s, especially in the SFBA…..
    You got the details from a government agency ONLY if you wrote positive stories or omitted facts that put them in a bad light. No more expose’s on wrongdoing, no ALL THE FACTS allowed.

  11. Journalism and news reporting, as it is today, deserves no respect!!!  The fact that too much of what is reported, or what they choose not to report, is agenda driven is despicable.  The definition of journalist is “a person who writes for newspapers or magazines or prepares news to be broadcasted on radio or TV”.   The definition of reporter is “a person who is employed to report news or conduct interviews for broadcasts or newspapers”.  The definition of the decision maker concerning what is reported on and how it is reported on doesn’t exist but personal agenda doesn’t belong in any of these professions.  If the journalism industry, just like the political industry, wants respect – they need to first define it for themselves and then they have to earn it.  Being one-sided may earn the respect of that particular side but is not the way to earn the respect of all.

  12. The biggest news is not that journalists receive little respect but that very, very few journalists deserve any respect and indeed,  very few are actually journalists but have a hidden political agenda or campaign !!

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