Journalistic Revisionism

As  in many walks of life,  journalism is a game.   The l948
Webster`s Dictionary definition of journalism is,  ” the business
of managing,  editing,  or writing for,  journals or newspapers.”
And  most  newspapers and magazines and television news  programs
are  published and produced as a business,  to bring projects  to
its owner.

Thus  we get into the secondary definitions of journalism in
Webster’s Dictionary,  copyright l941,   (a) “the collection  and
editing  of material of current interest for presentation through
news  media,  (b) writing designed to appeal to  current  popular
taste or public interest (c) writing which aims at a mass audience.”

Everyday voluminous amounts of news is created by the myriad
events that occur,  and it would be an impossibility to report on
all of them.   Thus choices must be made by reporters and editors
as  to  what  is really of importance and of  interest  to  their
audience, and in what manner it is going to be presented.

In American journalism generally, a death is of top priority,
followed by catastrophes,  fires, and reporting on the activities
of the President.

Again in America, the media is free to publish anything they
wish,  whether  true or not,  subject only to the risk of a libel
suit or suit because of obscenity.   Both of these are  extremely
difficult to prosecute and win, and so the media hs wide latitude
to publish what they will.

Most, if not all, publishers and broadcasters take advantage
of  this  freedom to select news that suits their personal  bias,
and  to report it in such a manner as to advance  their  personal

Thus,  in watching television, or reading a publication, one
should always first ascertain the personal views of the owners so
that one can better judge the story for completeness of content,
accuracy and bias.

The  same can be said for standard books of reference,  like
dictionaries, encyclopedias, and textbooks.  Pick nearly any word
or  subject,  and  trace  it through different  editions  of  the
dictionary,  and  you  will  find a wide variance  based  on  the
changing bias of the publishers over the years.

The   Merriam-Webster  dictionary  evolution  on   defiining
“Jesus”  is an interesting example of what I mean.   In the  l941
edition,  Jesus is defined as “the son of Mary, the source of the
Christian religion and Saviour in the Christian faith.”

in a l981 edition, Jesus is defined as “the Jewish religious
teacher whose life,  death,  and resurrection as reported by  the
Evangelists are the basis of the Christian message of salvation.”

No  mention  is made that over one billion  people  consider
him the Son of God and the Messiah.

My  earliest observance of this occurred when I went to  new
York  City as a young man straight out of college,  and began  to
read  all its daily newspapers;  then being,  the  New York Times ,
the  orld Tribune , the  Journal-American , the  Daily News ,
the  Daily Mirror , the  New York Post , the  Wall Street
Journal , and the  Long Island Press .

In fact, it was necessary to read all of these, and more, if
one  wished  to  be  informed of  the  facts  of  any  particular
happening,  as  the various reporters and editors had shaped  and
selected  the  facts to suit their own purposes so much that  the
innocent  reader  of  a  single news  source  could  be  woefully

Another  important criteria is to consider  the  source–AP,
UPI,  INS, Reuters, the BBC.  For accuracy, I have found Reuters,
the  BBC,  and  UPI  to  be  the best,  and  AP  and  INS  to  be

Peter Howard, AP correspondent and author, related to me his
experiences  as  a  correspondent in the South during  the  Civil
Rights  struggles of l961-62.   He stated that he would file  the
facts  as he knew them,  but by the time the North  Carolina  re-
write  desk  was finished with his work,  and sent it out on  the
wires, he would not even recognize his own words.

Most anyone can verify his experience by attending a  public
affiar  in person,  and then hearing or reading about it the next
day.   In nealry all cases, it is as if you and the reporters had
attended two completely different functions.


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