11 October 2005

Journalism's Changing Ethics

Over the past several decades the number of media companies has shrunk from over 50 to 5. The excessive media consolidation has worsened all media, and the news media is certainly no exception. The deference and timidity shown by the mainsteam media ("MSM" in the blogosphere) during the Bush administration has been so absurd that the MSM cannot be regarded as an objective, trustworthy news source and has lost its credibility.

A few years ago I read a quote that the purpose of newspapers isn't so much to tell the news as it is to bring advertisers and consumers together. That's true of mainstream media in general; it's primary purpose is to make advertising profit, not to make quality product.

Is there a code of ethics for journalists? Apparently so. And apparently ethics changed 10 years ago, because they changed the ethics code:

The ethics code in place at least since 1974 declared, “The newspaper should background, with the facts, public statements that it knows to be inaccurate or misleading.” The passage was dropped when APME rewrote the code in 1994 to make it, as David Hawpe, editorial director of the Louisville Courier-Journal who was then ethics committee chairman, “vaguely” recalls, “more operational, and less a statement of principle.”

Well, that explains a few things...

Props to MediaCitizen.

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