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Would You Fire Yourself From Facebook or Twitter?

by John on 04/07/2012

NBC News fired someone for an example of media bias committed on social media every second of everyday.

A producer at NBC News was fired for allegedly editing an audio clip in a story about the Trayvon Martin killing that was apparently unfair to George Zimmerman.  From the New York Times piece:

The action came in the wake of an internal investigation by NBC News into the production of the segment, which strung together audio clips in such a way that made George Zimmerman’s shooting of Mr. Martin sound racially motivated.

Is this a measure of media bias?  We don’t know.  It could have been.  The producer may have had a conscious or unconscious liberal bias.  He may have been looking to make it a more intriguing story a la Mike Daisy.  Or he may have cut corners to make the piece shorter and tighter, so he edited out what he thought was unnecessary audio.

But again, we don’t know.  We weren’t in his head.  And, unless he comes out and tells us, we can only speculate but not definitively accuse.  Furthermore, this is a personnel matter for NBC.  As an aside: I give NBC credit, so far, for not releasing the producer’s name.

However, media bias is not the theme here.  It’s all about news standards for major news organizations — and for you as a citizen or reluctant journalist.

Since all of us have access to an audience online shouldn’t we hold ourselves to the same journalistic standards; the same standards we demand of the major news organizations?

Someone following me on Twitter describes himself this way:

Husband/Father/Business Owner/Political and Business News junkie. Reagan Conservative. Obama/Reid/Pelosi are disgusting, and are destroying the USA.

Really?  Destroying the USA?  The truth is Republicans and Democrats are equally at fault for the majority of problems we have.  And to be fair, this is not the worst I’ve seen. I’ve had followers and friends post photos of Obama as a monkey or call him Curious George; or who photo-shop a Hitler outfit on George W. Bush.

Should these people fire themselves from Twitter and Facebook?  If they want to be considered a credible source of news and information, then yes.  If they don’t care, then no: it’s a free world.  That’s they’re stand.  Scoff at them?  No, be thankful, they’re open about it.  They’re better than Fox News declaring they’re fair and balanced. 

But will I follow these people?  No.

They have no “news standing”.  It would be a waste of your time — if you’re looking for news and information. If you’re a die-hard conservative, then you will join them for comfort.  If you’re a liberal, then you’re looking for a fight.

The same holds true for people like Sarah Palin.  She has coined the phrase “lame stream media.”  It’s catchy and it reaches her core of followers.  But here’s a rule: when a politician complains about the media and media bias, most of the time it means they lack a credible argument.

It also holds true for Markos Moulitsas, of the Daily Kos, who asked the protesters at Iraqi vet funerals to do the same at the funeral of conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.  That does nothing but inflame.

Getting involved in these entertainers’ petty melodramas is not news and information.  And it does not make you a better informed person.

So what should you do with these carnival barkers and distorters?  It’s easy. 

Correct them, but with civility and facts.  Remember, we’re looking for enlightened conversation and discourse.


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