When Reporters Run Amok
A local school district wouldn't allow a television reporter to view tapes of a school bus ride, much to her on-camera chagrin. The reporter was working hard to provoke outrage at the district after a parent contacted the station claiming her daughter had been injured on the ride. The district, of course, cited confidentiality concerns regarding releasing the tape to the media -- claims which were obviously bogus according to the reporter's dismissive tone and angry demeanor.
There used to be a difference between straight news reporting and editorials. Straight news was supposed to simply recount what happened in as fair, objective, and accurate a way as possible. Editorials provided a place for opinion. Reporters were just that -- reporters. They reported the news. They didn't make it and they weren't supposed to try to influence how you thought about it.
That distinction has long been lost, of course. But even by today's confused standards, my local news channel is the poster station for newspeople who want to manufacture news rather than report it. These folks could be a Saturday Night Live skit.
Channel 10 is "On Your Side," a catch phrase the news people repeat over and over. Why I need a group of people on the 6:00 news to be on my side or on anyone else's side was puzzling until I realized that they actually believe that if it weren't for them, crime would run rampant and undetected. This attitude was either annoying or amusing until I saw the story below about an alleged incident on the bus in a local school district. Then I realized that the phrase should be, "We're on the side we pick. Too bad if it's not yours."
In my 25 years as a school administrator, I've dealt with more than a few issues like this one on the bus. Some parents who are unhappy with the school for one reason or another prefer to play out their unhappiness in the local media. I was fortunate during my tenure that no local station every took the ball and ran with it quite like these folks do.
Notice the reporter's tone -- outrage! But pay careful attention to the "additional information" she shares at the end of the story and the "takeaway." I think there's a truthiness issue here, Ms. Reporter.