Last week local journalist Brad Byrd spoke to an audience of 20 about the dark side of social media.
Among other topics, Byrd addressed the allegation that all media is biased.
As a journalism major writing for The Shield, I will admit it is a little annoying to have a prerequisite of sneaky, biased and untrustworthy.
When I tell people I am studying journalism they laugh a little bit and then ask me if I am going to be an honest journalist.
As if there is anything else to be.
The purpose of journalism is to seek truth and tell it. It is the mission of every journalist to present all facts without any opinions and biases.
Those are basic journalistic rules.
I am not saying there aren’t bad journalists and I am not saying there are not journalists who are biased. What I am saying is, those journalists are looked down upon in their community of writers.
A newsroom is not full of journalists cackling evilly about how they printed false information that will ruin someone’s life.
A news room is full of editors slapping a red ink stained rough draft on a writer’s desk telling them to make sure all names are spelled correctly, making sure they fact check everything they wrote.
It’s full of editors crossing out a sentence in a story and telling the writer they cannot put opinions in their writing.
The average American lumps a whole lot of people into their culprit of “media.”
They lump together commentators, journalists, television broadcasters and stand up comedians that center around politics.
All of which play very distinct roles in presenting news to the public.
Commentators, for instance, ARE NOT JOURNALISTS.
In fact, commentators are not related to any news organization whatsoever.
So to call all journalists biased because you watched one commentator say highly opinionated statements (which is what they do, if you are wondering) is completely irrational.
Secondly, stand up comedians like John Oliver are not journalists.
Oliver himself said that calling him a journalist is a slap in the face to actual journalists.
You cannot say the media is biased when you don’t even understand everyone you are addressing.
I am studying to be a journalist because I think it is honorable.
I am studying to be a journalist to inform the public of what is going on right around them.
I am studying to be a journalist so I can prove all of you who label me as biased wrong.