The truth can be nameless and faceless through social media
Truth; The first obligation of journalism. The obligation to truth has been heavily neglected and discarded through the death of editorial independence, since corporate media’s primary goal appears to be the ‘bottom line’ and political access rather than presenting truthful reporting to the public. Disinformation brings profits and maintains the status quo. Platforms that empower the public to transcend mainstream control: Social media.
Social media has opened many doors of communication for millions of internet users; its given us platform after platform where we can disseminate information and feedback, without the restraints and potential censorship of mainstream media outlets that receive our comments and posts, and decide what they deem as ‘appropriate’ postings on their mediums. “Truth” is no longer solely defined by private and public entities alone; the people now have the power to display what they see as ‘newsworthy’ without being watered down by the political editing.
Along with the opportunity of citizen reporting, the phenomenon of social media also brings us those who enjoy reeking havoc, disrupting, and provoking the public discourse. These social media users are often referred to as “trolls.” Trolls are relentless at pushing narratives and controlling public dialogue, regardless of the negative or positive effect on public discussion. They can be rude, obnoxious, harassing, and even threatening to users throughout the web. They can also be a catalyst for public debate on issues that are being submerged by propaganda and a lack of critical thinking by the public.
Social media has also given us confidentially and anonymity with the exercise of free speech. This gift of anonymity granted by social media is a bittersweet one; it gives protection to political dissent that may bring about reprisal against those who dare to expose malfeasance, while also giving a stage to some of the most heinous, inhumane, and destructive individuals in society.
Despite the undue consequences, the expression of truth must be protected at all costs. Without it, you have a people enslaved by a system of lies and political subterfuge. Without it, what’s created will be the human equivalent of sending the sheep to the slaughter.
The hacktivist group known as Anonymous has shown that protected speech may only be protected through the right of anonymity.
Few people realize that actions are really what enable society to progress through Freedom of Speech. MLK’s ‘I have a dream’ speech was not nearly as important as the simple act of a black man, in those times, walking up to the podium to speak for the oppressed…On the internet you are given the choice to choose how you represent yourself. In real life, you are represented by the way you look, by the color of your skin, by the clothes you wear, by your accent, by your gender and many other arbitrary things. On the Internet, none of these things matter.
Again, the first obligation of journalism is reporting truth. It’s also referred to as muckraking. In order for the public to make educated decisions on its own future, it must gather credible information to make those decisions and have discourse based on facts.
The best way to way to seek the credible information is through verification. According to veteran journalists Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel,
The discipline of verification is what separates journalism from entertainment, propaganda, fiction, or art. Entertainment–and its cousin ‘infotainment’–focuses on what is most diverting. Propaganda selects facts or invents them to serve the real purpose: persuasion and manipulation. Fiction invents scenarios to get at a more personal impression of what it calls truth.
Truth doesn’t have a race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or personality type; the truth can come from a staunch humanitarian or a social cancer such as a pedophile.
Truths dismissed by distraction and propaganda
We shouldn’t dismiss testimony because we don’t like the messenger. We should evaluate and assess the message with some understanding of human agendas. In many cases, when we don’t like the message, we attack the messenger personally. Attacks on the messenger’s associations, friends, even their family members aren’t off limits to some people in their attacks, regardless to whether their behavior is unethical or immoral, and in same cases illegal such as death threats or other forms of intimidation.
Mainstream media helped shape the Trayvon Martin murder trial with Ad hominem attacks and character assassination, just as in the case of Michael Brown, a young man controversially killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
In the case of Trayvon Martin, the mainstream media’s echoing question should have been “was Trayvon Martin shot in self-defense?” Instead, many media outlets focused on Trayvon’s delinquency in school, whether he had marijuana in his system, and whether he should have been wearing a ‘hoodie.’ All effectively used to distract the public and to character assassinate a 17-year-old boy.
(Video below) Geraldo Rivera of FOX News claims that the ‘hoodie’ was responsible for Trayvon Martin being shot and killed:
The problem of putting a name and face on the truth
Many people argue that nameless faceless users on the internet are “cowards” afraid to show their faces and should be dismissed but the truth is that some of these same users are socially aware enough to know that society often engages in personal attacks (Ad hominem) rather than actually attacking the message itself. Those who hate the truth will do whatever they can to drown out the message along with the messenger. Think about it.
The truth must be the main focus to make honest and educated decisions so it can be argued that more focus should be on the information given than the ethos of the speaker.
Do we even care about the truth anymore or are we more concerned that the news affirms our prejudices and caters to our egos? Rush Limbaugh has made his fortune doing this for decades. Limbaugh knows his audience and he feeds them with his Clear Channel tablespoon.
If we are truly looking for truth in the media, we must remember that the truth has no name, no face, and does not cater to any specific audience. It’s there for all willing to look for it and actually want to see and hear it, as well as smell and taste it.
It’s up to the people to find the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Before and after the truth: Mostly distraction and destruction to continue the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy on us all.