Within just the past five months, the nation has seen how the media’s reporting of national events has often been grossly inaccurate and even based on biases that reflect the media’s own political agenda.
With the heinous shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the media incorrectly gave the name of the alleged shooter as “Ryan Lanza,” rather than “Adam Lanza,” with “Ryan” being the accused’s brother. In addition, the media reported that the shooter had killed his father in New Jersey, prior to the Connecticut rampage, and that his mother was a teacher at the Sandy Hook elementary school, and had been shot in the school, all of which turned out to be false.
Last week, the media failed again by misidentifying two Moroccan males, a runner and his coach, who were watching the marathon, as the Boston bombing suspects. In addition, some news outlets were quick to suggest that “right-wingers” were likely to blame for the bombing attacks, with David Sirota of Salon even writing, “Let’s Hope the Boston Bomber Is A White American.”
In addition to the media “narrative” having been changed to emphasize the liberal agenda that America is a racist, homophobic, greedy, etc. nation, many of the outright inaccuracies of some events have been reported to news outlets by citizens via social media, apparently without fact-checking, and some are referring to the fast-paced reporting that is becoming commonplace on Facebook and Twitter as “citizen journalism.”
That, however, is a debatable designation.
On Saturday, Fox News Channel’s Mike Huckabee interviewed Greg Gutfeld of FNC’s The Five and Red Eye, and Andrew Marcus, director of Hating Breitbart, about the nature of “citizen journalism,” through the lens of the fact that Andrew Breitbart was a “pioneer” in this journalistic genre.
Huckabee asked Gutfeld about the fact that average citizens were being asked to post photos and videos to help the authorities capture the Boston bombers.
“How important is ‘citizen journalism’ in this world where everything is digital and everybody’s got a camera?” Huckabee asked.
Gutfeld made the essential distinction.
“I think there’s two kinds,” Gutfeld responded:
There was the Breitbart kind, which is kind of a relentless, but focused type of journalism where, okay, we know there is something there in Andrew Weiner’s story that isn’t true. We must stay on it; we must keep digging and digging until we find the truth. And do not let naysayers and liars get in the way. That was citizen journalism, and he got people involved in that, and he won.
On March 2, 2012, Breitbart News published my “memorial” to Andrew Breitbart, entitled, “A Citizen Journalist Remembers Andrew Breitbart.”
In that piece, I discussed an early phone conversation with Andrew:
When I sensed a pause in Andrew’s stream of consciousness- and that was kind of difficult to do- I asked, “Do you think I could be a blogger for your sites?” He replied, “Absolutely. It would be great to have you join us. This is what I do. This is what ‘citizen journalism’ is. You are going to help do the job that the mainstream media is not doing.
Gutfeld is absolutely on target. Andrew’s brand of “citizen journalism” was about focused, accurate reporting by average people who were aware of the complexities of a situation and could tease them out. The failure of some media to report accurate information is likely based on a perceived need to provide information fast, risking verification in the meantime. The failure in reporting truthful information, on the other hand, is due to many in the media’s enmeshment with the political agenda of the left.