Just so you know, I’m going to rant.
I am sick and tired of the so-called professional news media hiding behind social media – especially Twitter – like it is some sort of journalistic bastion.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. I get a lot of info from Twitter. I keep up with my favorite teams and athletes and authors and friends. I even get news updates via Twitter (but from news sources, not from Aunt Kate).
My problem is when some not-so-well-meaning . . . or lazy . . . or gutless . . . journalist uses Twitter as a crutch.
What am I talking about? I’m glad you asked.
Group #1: Biased Reporters
They have an agenda, then pick up a lie or exaggeration, and report it. Or my favorite is when they ask predisposed audiences (like liberal viewers of MSNBC or conservative fans of FOX News) a loaded question and report the results like they are journalistic facts. I’m just guessing that if I ask the two pre-mentioned audiences a question about abortion or the Obama administration, I’m going to get two very different answers . . . and neither is going to be reflective of the true national pulse.
Group #2: Lazy Reporters
They don’t intend to harm or harbor an agenda; they are just too lazy to fact check. They pick up something on Facebook or Twitter and report it as fact . . . without checking the validity of the information. And unfortunately, it can cause serious damage. Like the erroneous reports of Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords’ death, or the premature announcement of Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s passing in January.
Group #3: Gutless Reporters
This has become the most common group of offenders. They want to ask a question, but they don’t have the guts to pose it straight up. So they say something like: “Senator, people on Twitter want to know what you think about your ex-wife’s allegation that you once beat the family Shih-Tzu.” Or, “People all over America want to know _________?” (you fill in the blank). I have no problem with tough questions, but I do find fault with the interviewers who don’t have the guts to ask them.
Just the other night, I saw actor Kirk Cameron being interviewed by Piers Morgan on CNN. Morgan said: “If I asked you, for example, what is your view of gay marriage, what would you say?”
Cameron’s answer: “Well, go ahead and ask me.”
Come on reporters, quit hiding behind Twitter and just ask the question.