Home » Truth and Journalism: Lessons from CNN’s Townhall Meeting

Truth and Journalism: Lessons from CNN’s Townhall Meeting

by Cathy Brown
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Regardless of among the darkish facet of my background (a long-term penal incarceration, for instance), I can nonetheless talk about each reality and journalism.

In my lifetime, I’ve been the recipient of the George Polk, ABA Silver Gavel, Robert F. Kennedy, and Sidney Hillman journalism awards. I’m the co-author of two books and my writings have appeared in legislation journals, medical journals, magazines, and newspapers. My writing has additionally appeared in the identical format with Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Invoice Moyers, and Cornell West. I shared an ABC Nightline program, hosted by Ted Koppel, with the late Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court docket, Warren Burger.

That must be license sufficient to discuss the topic of reality and journalism.

Writing, journalism, historical past and expertise have taught me that truth is not permanent; that’s evolves with data gained via analysis—most of the time, scientific analysis.

The Could 13, 2023 CNN “city corridor assembly” with a former president ought to educate American society that social media, totalitarian political figures, racist ideologies, and a resurgence of patently false conspiracy theories (which have at all times lurked within the underbelly of America) have during the last decade or so put reality in a state of perpetual decay.

The RAND Company defines “reality decay” as “the diminishing position of details and evaluation in American public life.”

RAND says reality decay happens as a result of:

  1. Rising disagreement about details
  2. A blurring of the road between opinion and reality;
  3. The rising relative quantity and ensuing affect of opinion over reality; and
  4. Declining belief in previously revered sources of details.

Historic and social truths usually are not at all times dependable metrics for measuring precise reality.

The victor in battle and social conflicts assumes the best to file historic and social truths within the eye of the beholder—recordings which might be seldom grounded in actuality or reality.

Turkey to today denies it dedicated the genocide of 1.5 million Armenians in World Battle I—some via massacres, some via hunger, and others via compelled marches.

The Armenian genocide is a worldwide accepted “reality” besides in Turkey, the place greater than a century later the nation says a genocide didn’t happen within the battle battle with a dying rely that is quite a bit fewer than what the remainder of the world has calculated.

The lesson right here is: reality is commonly polluted by the passage of time, embellished via oral historical past, and corrupted by political energy.

Thus, journalists ought to by no means settle for historic and social reality as reality by relying on one supply. Fact, like a diamond, have to be dug from the bottom up.

Journalism should return to what Carl Bernstein described as “supply journalism”—reliance upon individuals and entities to assemble details fairly than a dependence upon social media, equivalent to Wikipedia, to reality collect.

A journalist talking to a “individual supply” can rapidly confirm if the individual has a private or political agenda within the dissemination of knowledge. That’s why data gained from a “individual supply” ought to, and should, be corroborated by one other, unbiased supply.

A “narrative reality” in journalism, to be dependable, have to be formulated via as a lot fact-based data as potential, totally examined and analyzed via the journalist’s personal logic and motive, and assembled freed from any subjective emotions and private biases the journalist might have.

Fact-seeking, whether or not in journalism or scientific analysis, begins with rational, logical questions from the reality seeker.

Leo Tolstoy as soon as stated that “reality, like gold, is to be obtained not by its development, however by washing away from all of it that isn’t gold.”

Questions result in the reality.

It takes mental skill and braveness for a journalist, or a researcher, to put apart their subjective notions of reality and search the reality via questions from dependable, unbiased sources. As Tolstoy instructed, wash away all that isn’t reality, no matter its particular person influence, and report all that’s true.

CNN’s “This Morning” host Kaitlan Collins courageously tried to do this in a Could 13 atmosphere that was not solely unreceptive however overtly hostile to the reality, as evidenced by the group’s derisive laughter and loud hand-clapping.

An offended crowd can’t think about, a lot much less see the reality.

The January 6 riot crowd demanded “cling Mike Pence” based mostly on a lie that he had a constitutional energy that he didn’t possess. The Pence lie served a goal that reality couldn’t.

It has been stated in quite a few arenas that the seek for reality begins with self-reflection. It has additionally been stated that reality lies within the core of philosophy, equivalent to the good trio of Greek philosophers, Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

In different phrases, the seek for reality begins inside and expands outward—a fact-gathering path that results in a dependable conclusion. Fact isn’t present in what “must be” however in “what’s.”

The frequent saying “it’s what it’s” is a good gauge of the reality – a damaged toe is a damaged toe, no matter how a lot we wish it to easily be a bruised toe.

In an actual sense, there may be no mixing of what must be and what’s.

Daniel Webster as soon as stated that, “there may be nothing so highly effective as reality – and sometimes so unusual.”

That’s exactly why truth-telling calls for braveness, a capability to talk and report, “it’s what it’s.”

In his 1949 novel 1984, George Orwell wrote: “Battle is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Energy.”

America should determine if that is the type of dystopian society, it needs to be—up is down, shedding is profitable, and evening is day. A type of society during which “it’s what it’s” is changed by “it’s what we are saying it’s.”

In 1710, Jonathan Swift warned that: “Falsehoods flies, and reality comes limping after it, in order that when males come to be undeceived, it’s too late …”

Source / Picture: thecrimereport.org

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