Yellow journalism

OP ED by Mark DeLap

According to the editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Yellow journalism, the use of lurid features and sensationalized news in newspaper publishing to attract readers and increase circulation. The phrase was coined in the 1890s to describe the tactics employed in the furious competition between two New York City newspapers, the World and the Journal.”

Journalism, they say is a calling. The World Journalism Institute calls it a “high calling.”

Lately that calling has been changed into hack journalism, accusations, false news, sensational exaggerations, half-truths and cut-throat methods to gain more viewers.

More viewers lead to more advertisers and once again, the bottom line is money.

There are now news agencies that will print the sensational without regard for truth or justice. The moral compasses in news agencies and media sights, both “social” and “anti-social” have been sold to the highest bidder and bidding is fierce.

The Guardian, The Epoch Times and  U.S. News & World Report have spoken out against the trepid turn that this profession is facing saying that fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to damage an agency, entity or person, and/or gain financially or politically, often using sensationalist, dishonest or outright fabricated headlines to increase readership, online sharing and internet click revenue.

This is not something that has just surfaced here in the new millennium but has been a concern ever since people have set themselves up to be information providers, selling their ability to publish.

Mike Wendling from BBC Trending says, “Misinformation, spin, lies and deceit have of course been around forever. But what Silverman (Buzzfeed’s media editor, Craig Silverman) and others uncovered was a unique marriage between social media algorithms, advertising systems, people prepared to make stuff up to earn some easy cash and an election that gripped a nation and much of the world.”

With the ability to track trends, media and advertising as never before in human history, it has been found that fake news not only sells but can be very profitable. Not the fake news as is found in the sensational rags that reach out to grab you in slow grocery lines, but news that, in fact, could be true.

It might be reputable, but it might not. What it does provide is a platform around the water cooler at work or the dinner table in hometown America. It has become more dangerous than ever.

It is now targeted as a weapon to defeat opponents in political elections. It is being used to pit people against people and to widen gaps of hate groups in this country. It pits brother against brother and don’t look now, but there is a huge Civil War brewing. It gives those with an agenda, a platform. False, but nonetheless, backing.

Word-of-mouth, social media and social gatherings have lots of ammunition in their mouths and bring out the big guns when they speak the sentence, “Did you hear?”

Like many colleges who abandoned the true journalism degree or altered it to a communications degree due to the changing markets over 25 years ago should have had the insight to see what would happen. There are not a lot of journalism students concerned with ethics, creed and mission as of late.  They used to learn things like “truth in media,” and “moral messages.” Now it’s money based, click crazy and it’s become such a cutthroat business that words like revenue, reviews and popularity have replaced words like character, truth and integrity. The majority of the profession has sold its soul to the devils who are trying to buy and control this country.

Like little hungry pigs, they are found wherever the troughs are full.

Where is the moral compass of the media? Where is the backbone of the publishers that won’t sell out to advertisers who threaten to pull the plug on the gravy train? Where can this country find a news source that researches tirelessly until truth is uncovered?

And when can we start firing the hacks and begin to hire real journalists again? They need to be held to a higher standard because it is a source this country looks to for truth. University journalism programs. Let’s regroup, refurbish, remodel and take our country back.

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