News and its credibility

Courier of the blessed or harbinger of the damned?

Whoever has read news knows the indispensable role it plays in our everyday life. As an individual in a society, one has to have the most up-to-date knowledge of how that society functions in order to strive or to protect oneself against imminent harms. News has had its role strengthened and news itself has to strengthen the information it disperses to the public. However, are news (agencies) doing their best to keep their information unbiased, objective and transparent or are they being spellbound at the sight of power, money and fame?

The society that we are living in now revolves around the Internet and television. Many prominent authors and writers have made discussions about how news is circulated, reported or sometimes even embroidered on the mentioned platforms. Some of the stories are heroic and the remaining percentage of the news are obviously blatant lies. Let’s discuss about the dark side that news can dawn on us civilians.

Internet and TVs have been around for a certain amount of time for us to use it mainly as a information-gathering digestive platform. The fact that we use daily and aggressively projects as a hunting ground for ill-will people. People who in view of their own interest, purposely distribute and propagate false information to the viewers. The types of such false and corrupted delivery come in all shapes and sizes, from video commercials to ad placements. The creators of such ads and commercials put manipulation on the top of their minds, bewitching light-hearted consumers into buying their products. An even worse kind of creator are the ones who are politically manipulative. They use such platforms in order to boost their images, boost their standings, possibly to promote their campaigns by disseminating twisted info on either them or their competitors. The worst kind of dispersing information to satisfy one’s desire are those of televangelists, usually people who are of respected positions in a religion trying to get faith money from the viewers. Televangelism has been critically acclaimed as an insinuation of aggrandizement. With millions of dollars poured into the televangelist’s pocket, it is a direct insult on people’s beliefs. To see that people are using their creations to manipulate the public and further increase their image, power and bank accounts is certainly unpleasant. Yet, such programs are still being aired at a head-aching frequency.

Examples of misleading commercials are found almost on every nationally-broadcast news channels in my country. These commercials are usually about some shady highly self-proclaimed foreign-invested general traditional medicine clinics (Phòng khám đa khoa Y học dân tộc cổ truyền truyền miệng truyền tai abcxyz). For an average person who is brought up in a city that has a developed education level, these commercials are something that I would not give in my trust and even despise them for interrupting my favorite game show. But what about the people who are not accurately informed on this blatant scam or people who just do not have a clue or people who are wearing tight belts around their belly to make ends meet daily? Who will protect them against these types of commercials? Every day, we are an audience that has to listen to such general statements from the government officials about how to protect ourselves against scams and frauds. Then what is the government’s role in this mess? The observer and the ones who do all the talking and leaving the civilians to walk by themselves? And they dare to call themselves a government. Now, let’s put aside the government and look at the big picture. Where are these ads, these commercials aired? On television. Who sanctions these airings? The cable companies. Well, I do not mean to accuse and discriminate them but it should be clear and transparent for anyone to understand the problems at hand.

All of these thoughts lead us back to the question: are news networks transparent and unbiased enough? Sadly, my stance is no. For whatever the reason is, the networks are endorsing and opinionated and advocating a certain individual. The networks are owned by bigger companies who own a bucket of budget. That leads us to question: is the news I am getting has anything to do with the networks partnership with that company? Who knows? Thus, the current situation creates even more doubts and arouses more questions amongst the public. And back to the role of news agencies, they serve to clarify and bring news and problems not creating more veils on this and that.

Now, with the current world situation, we are ever so vulnerable to false news. The ethics of the news agencies are highly likely to be questionable. Are they doing their jobs or are they being influenced by a second or third party?

For myself, I am clearly too inept to declare that everything is what I say it is. However, my lifespan is long enough for myself to recognize the problems of journalism’s ethics: neutrality and objectivity, are existent. It is inevitable as people are to be confounded by monetary value and personal interests. Those are parts of human nature. The only thing I can say is that we have to keep our virtues and standards higher than average to help us from crossing the thin line between irrational and rational. That is all I have to say.

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This blog post was finished and published at 03:06PM on February 12th, 2016

Slight updates and refines were made @ 01:00AM on February 13th, 2016

By Nguyễn Hoàng Anh

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