Prepping For Deceit
I spent a good portion of my weekend pointing out what should be obvious to any honest person but I apparently give too much credit to people in general. I simply stated on Facebook and Twitter that CNN feeding lines to a survivor of the Stoneman High School massacre during a taped interview was unethical. I also pointed out that CBS Sunday Morning allowing the same student to regurgitate a script as if it were some kind of spontaneous event is equally dishonest.
I was soon on the receiving end of quite predictable attacks. I was told I was an idiot, a bot, had no idea what I was talking about but much more disconcerting were the Tweets sent by those representing themselves as news producers. I checked some of them out and it turns out they do in fact work in TV news. Several of them told me “it was standard procedure” to “prep” a person for an interview to keep it on point and within time. I was told that telling somebody who’s struggling to get out an answer what to say is just fine.
I can tell you feeding answers to someone your interviewing during a taped interview that will later be edited is not ok. What has happened is the producer or reporter has in fact filled in the sound bites they want. That is not how news works. It is the kind of thing that should get you fired. It used to but now it is apparently the way things are done at many networks. I mean it does make it a lot easier if the reporter just goes out to get comments that will fill in the blank and if they don’t tell the person what you want them to say. I wish I had thought of that. It would have saved a ton of time and it would have made otherwise mundane interviews very hard hitting.
What I watched on tape was in desperate need of getting red flagged. I did challenge the lack of integrity and I stand behind the ethics I outlined in my comments. The fact is I was right, period. Those in the news don’t get to write what the people they talk to say. Well it isn’t supposed to work that way anyhow. Such behavior is a complete violation of the trust placed in media outlets by those that consume their products.
David Hogg is an aspiring journalist and son of a retired FBI agent. Hogg has become the focal point of the student inspired anti-gun movement following the murder of 17 kids and teachers at the Stoneman High School on Valentines Day. Hogg was there and quickly maneuvered himself in front of as many TV cameras as possible. The mainstream media has embraced Hogg because he is fervently anti-gun. He fits the exact narrative that most of the left leaning media champions already. So when I watch a video where you can clearly hear someone from CNN off camera telling Hogg what to say because he is stumbling along I have to stand up and be heard. It is dishonest and unethical to tell someone what they should say. It is wrong and anyone that does that should be fired immediately.
However, the reaction from the fringe left in attacking me was just deeply disappointing. They battled me and called me names not because I am wrong but because they don’t like my point of view and I am not working to eliminate the Second Amendment. I am a stooge of the NRA, a baby killer and a host of other vile things according to the unhinged far left whack jobs that actually think they are mainstream.
I know what would be said if a pro-gun student was getting fed answers by Fox News by someone off camera. I know what would happen if a kid that said we need teachers to be armed was allowed to read a script as if it were a spontaneous comment the crowd defined by their own indefensible double standards would be roaring for heads to roll.
This is also why the trust of the media is at an all time low. The fact is nobody trusts the media anymore. Amazon’s Washington Post, The Old and Grey New York Times, Disney’s ABC News, National Amusements CBS News and NBC Universal News are all the product of a blurring of the lines between news and entertainment. Now that every major newsroom in the world is driven by ad sales the destruction of actual ethics is nearly complete.
I left TV news more than 15 years ago because I thought the ethics were suspect back then. It continues to get worse every day. The only hope is the void of honesty and integrity in todays world of journalism will be filled by honest people doing honest work no matter what the outlet. If there is an honest radio reporter we should support them. If someone is doing great work on a small website and the work is accurate and honest we should lift them up for all to see. We have to demand more from all corners of the world when it comes to journalism. I demand honesty and integrity and you should too no matter what kind of names you are called by dishonest brokers who only care about a political agenda.