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Dan Jacob

The IDIA Group

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Should newspapers be truth vigilantes?

Arthur Brisbane, Public Editor for the New York Times wrote an interesting article OpEd today (January 12, 2012) asking "Should the New York Times Be a Truth Vigilante?"

The article can be found here: http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/should-the-times-be-a-truth-vigilante/

In a time where people are being bombarded with information, what role (if any) should newspapers play in correcting un-informed, egregiously inaccurate statements? What implications would this have?

To quote Brisbane:

"...[People] look to The [New York] Times to set the record straight. They worry less about reporters imposing their judgment on what is false and what is true.
Is that the prevailing view? And if so, how can The Times do this in a way that is objective and fair? Is it possible to be objective and fair when the reporter is choosing to correct one fact over another? Are there other problems that The Times would face that I haven’t mentioned here?"

Interested to hear your thoughts on this one...

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  • Jan 15 2012: Yes. "The truth shall set you free." The MEDIA has asked the public to purchase their commodity, information. The public has the moral and civil expectation that what that media is providing is the truth, without alteration. A free press bears the responsibility to be self-policing to maintain the highest standards regarding truth in what it reports as news. To behave otherwise invites censorship, regulation and slavery. I see a similarity of trust/truth responsibilty wherever there exists inherant vulnerabilty In nursing practice, patients are about as vulnerable to harm as a person can become. Any nurse can be abusive at any time and most likely would not be discovered. The media has the same responsiblity to do no harm that a nurse bears. A self-policing media is essential to assure that the public has unfettered access to the truth.
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      Jan 15 2012: While a media that regulates itself sounds great, it doesn't sound realistic. It is not in the interest of news organizations to self-regulate, so they won't do it. In relation to your nurse metaphor, nurses are compeled to not abuse patients by the power of the law. Then should the media be compelled to present the truth by the law?

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