Micro Business

Devil’s Advocate and the Print Media

Written By: - Oct• 16•15

The -devil’s advocate- role of the print media describes the behavior of the news organizations only reporting what most would consider to be -bad news’. There is a quote pertaining to this very notion from Ari Fleischer, former White House Press Secretary under Bush. I can imagine in his tenure, he had many days where simply -spinning- the information to the media would not suffice. There are a lot of negative events taking place and it is responsible media coverage to show us these things, regardless of what the mass media may define as PC content. We, as human beings, tend to focus on what’s wrong because we are the great fixers, especially in this country. Rhetorically speaking, how are we supposed to fix things that are broken if half of the country does not know anything is wrong? The print media did wonderful things in reference to the relentless pursuit of truth behind the WorldCom and Enron scandals, thanks for that. Objectivity becomes an issue at a point, however it does not draw lines in the sand as to what is not alright to disclose in print. The role of devil’s advocate is very necessary to challenge authority, sometimes with a touch of hostility, and to -ferret- out the truth. A reporter’s bias shouldn’t be an issue when reporting information, however I am certain it happens. The most we can do is to try to remain impartial and fair and adhere to the -Code of Objectivity’ set forth by Dr. Walter Williams, Dean of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri, after World War 1. I think the American public thrives on the bad news so that is what is reported, it is like the principles of economic supply and demand, but dealing with information. Individual bias can certainly skew the reality of a situation and present it to be something other than what it really is, but I don’t believe the majority of print media has relationships based on distrust and negative-only reporting, I believe most are simply in pursuit of a story-the truth.

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