Journalistic Integrity is Dead
My research takes me to a pretty diverse cross section of websites on the internet. One moment I am trawling through scientific periodicals, the next I am watching bizarre YouTube videos on the JFK assassination. While some are written or scripted with an obvious bias towards the writer’s agenda, there are none so insidious as those penned by American journalists from large conglomerates, such as USA Today.
Now I am not suggesting that the press are faultless in other parts of the world, but recent articles I have come across, covering conspiracy theorists are shameful. Take the article entitled; ‘Conspiracy Theories: Here’s What Drives People to Them, No Matter How Wacky,’ from the 15th January this year, by William Cummings. With one unsubstantiated, out of context quote from a psychologist, who claims that belief in conspiracy theories have close ties with ‘the paranoia spectrum’, he goes on to debunk 63% of the US population for doubting the validity, accuracy and truth telling in journalism.
Cummings begins his tirade with; ‘wake up sheeple,’ and then spends numerous paragraphs demonising those who question the word of authority, namely, politicians and media representatives. He cranks out results of questionnaires conducted by political scientists (who knew that politics was a science?) at the University of Chicago, stating high numbers of American citizens who believe at least one conspiracy theory, and then has the gall to claim that there is zero evidence to support the theories. Did he look for evidence to support their claims? No. Is he likely to find such evidence in the University of Chicago archives? Unlikely.
Instead, Cummings quotes directly from a science article using high brow statements such as, ‘Confirmation Bias’, ‘Illusory Pattern Perception’ and ‘hard wiring of our brains’. Just as a side, if you read enough neuroscience studies, you would know that brains are intrinsically elastic, forging new connections all the time. Hard wiring is a ridiculous notion.
The fact is that many of the people who believe in conspiracies, are fully aware that media moguls are complicit in the lies. The tight control and neutering of stories is achieved at the top of this journalist’s particular food chain. That, it seems, has escaped Mr Cummings’ journalistic integrity. He quotes Eric Oliver’s theory that belief in conspiracies tend to rely on intuition rather than analytical thinking. “They go with their gut feelings. They’re very susceptible to symbols and metaphors.”
I don’t think I have ever read such an arrogant assumption before in my life. If the same had been printed or posted in Europe, there is a chance that Cummings would now be hanging by his entrails from a lamppost outside the Bastille.
The best part he saves until last. Having condescended to and pilloried those with a sceptical mind for a dozen or more paragraphs, he then begins a section to state that many conspiracies are later uncovered as truthful! As soon as classified documents and records become declassified, many of the suspicions of the past are proven as fact. I speak of examples such as Watergate, or the Profumo Affair in the UK. Still, Cummings twists the reporting of this, by referring to Hollywood movies. Credit us with enough intelligence to understand the concept of fiction, even if journalists cannot.
There really ought to be a law against this kind of sanctioned reporting. They are part of the system which strives to control the information and data streams accessible to the public. If all access were equal and transparent, from the highest levels of political and media circles, there would be no such thing as a conspiracy theorist for journalists to condemn. While the media giants stay in the politicians pockets and vice versa, I for one, will go on questioning their half truths and blatant lies until the day I die.
Sam Nash is the author of the thriller series, The Aurora Conspiracies, available from Amazon at http://mybook.to/AuroraMandate You can find her at https://www.samnash.org or on Twitter @samnashauthor or Facebook.com/samnash.author. Alternatively, you can download her free prequel novella series. Kindle: mybook.to/T-A-J-P01 ePub: books2read.com/u/4jwjJo