Seriously, does anyone expect anything different from journalists?
My Chinese business partner does some work with Foxconn and the story goes like this-
A Foxconn engineer delivered 5 prototypes to shipping the customer (Apple) received only 4 prototypes and Apple being paranoid about it’s secrets kicked up a little fuss.
Foxconn internal security interrogated the shipping personnel and beat a couple of them up and then locked them up in room where one of them escaped and made his way to the roof and either fell or jumped. Foxconn made a generous settlement to the family including the Parents due to the one child policy.
So now when the other employees found out the terms of the settlement a group of them ran up to the same roof and were threatening to jump. Upon investigation they found on one women’s computer an email from her husband encouraging her to jump so all their “financial problems would be solved”, this occurred on site Foxconn at the dormitories and the issue was resolved when Foxconn gave the buildings to the government who would not be liable or would not pay any death settlement at which point everybody came off the roof.
My business partner makes the point that the Chinese rank and file are immature, 20 years ago they were in the same grim situation as North Korea their culture was almost completely destroyed from the internal revolutions. When he hires a new employee he has to teach them simple things like phone manners - they do not even say goodbye so you know the conversation is over they just hang up.
Typical press unless it is a Natalie Holloway story they just pull it off the wire and make up stuff to fill the gaps as it suits them
Seriously, does anyone expect anything different from journalists?The larger problem stems from the fact that most journalists have not been taught to critically examine statistics. They follow the herd which often means that they report numbers without providing readers a context for making sense of those numbers.
. . . and if so, why?"People of the same trade seldom meet together even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public or some contrivance to raise prices." - Adam SmithWe need not wonder if journalists "meet together;" the critical mass of journalists work for members of the Associated Press - if not, indeed, for the AP itself. And it is scarcely to be thought that journalists of the other wire services, or of no wire service, are out of the loop.
The effect of the wire services is to homogenize journalism and inspire a herd mentality among journalists. And it hardly seems likely, on the evidence I'm aware of, that journalism school does anything to reduce the herd tendency of journalists; instead it teaches journalism on the Associated Press model. As long as journalism as a whole is able to hype the importance of "The News," and hype the "objectivity" of journalists as such, there will be overwhelming herd behavior among journalists.
The herd behavior of journalists cultivates herd "thought" among we-the-people. Who among us has not been taught in Civics class that journalism is objective? There are however problems with this simple story: to have government schools teaching that journalists are objective essentially establishes journalists as a priesthood who have different rights and responsibilities than the general public, and Journalists are not without their own distinctive motivations separate from the public interest - pecuniary self-interest, and ego gratification implicit in being considered influential. Of course monetary and ego gratification are universal human desires - but their presence in journalism does not indicate that journalists are a priesthood apart from we-the-people.
Not only so, but because disasters for the public at large produce "great copy" for the journalist (who works overtime covering wars and natural disasters), it is apparent that to the first-order approximation journalists have perverse incentives. Without claiming that as a general rule journalists intentionally cause calamities in order to report them, it has to be said that William Randolph Hearst "exercised enormous political influence, and is sometimes credited with pushing public opinion in the United States into a war with Spain in 1898," according to Wikipedia This suggests, in considering the claims of journalistic objectivity, the advisability of heeding the cautioning of Adam Smith:The wisest and most cautious of us all frequently gives credit to stories which he himself is afterwards both ashamed and astonished that he could possibly think of believing . . .
It is acquired wisdom and experience only that teach incredulity,
and they very seldom teach it enough. -
We would do well to consider what journalism's self-proclamation of its own "objectivity" actually implies in the context of what we would expect of any ordinary person who claimed to even attempt objectivity. For any ordinary person, we would expect that they would declare up front all their interests in the case at hand which would hinder their attempted objectivity. But that, of course, is precisely what the journalists are too busy claiming actual objectivity to ever do.
Besides, to the extent that claiming "objectivity" is code for claiming wisdom, the claim is sheer sophistry.