A journalist that is held to any sort of decent standard knows that there are certain taboos in the industry: don’t lie, don’t steal and don’t tarnish the existence of the fourth estate. Unfortunately, it seems as though distinct members of the media have been spending less time adhering to these principles, and spending more time trying to keep the spotlight aimed firmly in their direction.
The most recent example of this was, of course, Brian Williams. In what only seemed like a mere impossibility to many devoted watchers of The Nightly News, Williams was caught embellishing or “misremembering” the truth of a story.
As a direct result, many Americans have lost their faith in Williams. His legacy, now compromised, is completely up in the air as he continues to serve his six month suspension from TV.
But this is not where the lying ends.
Yet another major American journalist has been put on blast for embellish his war credentials. America’s favorite love-to-hate broadcaster, Bill O’Reilly was recently called out by another member of the media to have exaggerated his experience in the Falklands War.
While the story is very much still breaking, O’Reilly immediately fired back at the report saying that it was complete and total garbage. He even went as far as to call the accuser, David Corn, a “no-good scumbag.”
So, what are we left with? Regardless of the outcome in the present O’Reilly situation, it only seems as though journalism has some explaining to do. Without the trust of the public, there isn’t much else left to consider. American journalists enjoy a distinct and honorable freedom to develop and report a story without harm.
Along with this freedom comes a responsibility to carry maximum trust along the way. Is trustworthy journalism dead? Of course not. However, the near future will be a time of trial and rebuilding as the common American journalist attempts to brush off the lies and re-gather the central truth.