US Election Media Coverage: Integrity 101 Declined

(The original version of this article titled “Media coverage 101 in politics: No spins, just facts” was first published on (already defunct) as an entry to the “American Pundit” on Aug. 17, 2012.)

What does the US election media coverage usually focus on? While it becomes more exciting and decisive, it appears to be spot-on and die-hard reporting. Is it sound like passé? Yes, it seems no maturity.

In these days of information overflow, political facts have become synonymous with political opinions, unless they are verified or fact-checked. But do folks have a good sense of fact-checking? Not all.

Headlines in most main bars and stories in sidebars are hardly accepted as “just the facts”. If you’re a terrible reader, you would have ended up believing it—a cold hard fact.

If you only read a certain report half-baked, then you will most likely quaff on an irresponsible reading leaving yourself a victim of irresponsible writing. But who’s to blame?

US Election Media Coverage 101—No Spins, Just Facts

No spins, just facts becomes the optimum standard and basis of news reporting. This must be the primary rule for media coverage of politics.

Journalists are said to be the mouthpiece of society. Hence their responsibilities and accountabilities must be held in the highest regard.

However, responsible journalism has become monetized and trimmed down to serve the vested interest—the audacity of journalism’s trend.

Envelopmental, Developmental Journalism

Development journalism concerns socio-economic development focusing on helping people meet their basic needs and empowering them.

Developmental journalism started at the Press Foundation of Asia (PFA) in the 1960s with Filipino journalists Alan Chalkley and Juan Mercado, who are concerned about reporting through a detailed analysis and evaluation of programs’ development and making a stand on social responsibility.

Today, although development journalism is still working, the problem lies on us—we are mostly stirred and excited to read reports that serve our fads, trends, fanaticism, and are mostly get bored to read social issues beats—its impact and critical analysis.

Folks are mostly fed by either subservient journalism—reports by “slave” journalists so obedient to the authority they work for or by “envelopmental” journalism—reports by corrupt journalists.

Oftentimes, we hardly read the entire article before concluding or drawing out our opinions. Doing so makes us less informed and brainwashed.

Sensationalism: The Dark Side of Journalism

Reports from most media organizations either trivialize important events or understate facts or provoke public interest—sensationalization—the dark side of the culture of journalism.

Such culture has already been identified in the past, and it continues to downplay the present media advocacy for responsible reporting and will continue downplaying the same media advocacy because it’s already in the veins of reporting—an institutional disease—a cure seems hopeless.

US Election Media Coverage Mania

The US election media coverage in the upcoming Republican and Democratic conventions, though quite unfaithful in various aspects of reportage, still is the best contribution of the US media organizations to the American society in helping electorates decide their November candidate that will mark another feat in America’s history.

Whether US media organizations trivialize or overstate political facts, there can be no other means in human technology advancement as very useful as media coverage of politics.

US Media Credibility Rating Declines

Although a report by Pew Research Center showed that the credibility ratings for most media organizations in the United States are declining further in a double-digit drop, this study would never affect the level of importance of the US election media coverage that will help shape America’s politics. Americans need to know.

The highly regarded roles of media in politics are either prejudiced or stereotyped. Media organizations may have done their share. The US electorates should likewise do their part: get involved and fact-check. ▲


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