Have you ever heard of yellow journalism, or the yellow press? Of course, you have. According to Wikipedia it is “a US term for a type of journalism that presents little or no legitimate well-researched news and instead uses eye-catching headlines to sell more newspapers. Techniques may include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering or sensationalism.”
As a “yellow journalist,” William Randolph Hearst is famous for having used his newspapers to push for American involvement in the Spanish-American War. His rival, Joseph Pulitzer, best known today for his “prize,” had a very different reputation while alive. As the owner of The New York World, purchased in 1884, he was acknowledged as the pioneer of tabloid journalism.
Growing up in the 1970’s I saw journalism as a noble endeavor. Remember “All the President’s Men?” Who else was going to save America if not the journalist? Uncovering lies and deceit, standing up for those that couldn’t stand up for themselves.
2018. Fair and balanced? I appreciate the media. I’ve made a living courting the media, and I believe that most people who pursue a career in journalism are doing it for the right reasons. They want to share information and news. They want to help us all stay connected. And they want to do it in the service of community – whatever community they have chosen to serve.
But, here’s the thing, I wonder if it’s fair to think that the media will be balanced? I think it's the goal, but everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a position.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for fake news. That’s a total disaster. And I don’t think we should lower the bar. Yet, in a world that’s gone agile, perhaps having a more flexible viewpoint might the smartest thing of all. Mostly balanced might be more realistic.