Williams gives us all a bad rep

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2015

While the state news is consumed with the latest in the pursuit of equality for gay couples, the national news has been absorbed with the so-called deceit by national news anchor Brian Williams.

According to news reports, the anchor, who has been suspended for sixth months from NBC’s “Nightly News,” has come under scrutiny for his tales of his experiences while reporting high-profile stories such as combat in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina.

The accuracy of his stories has been challenged recently.

Williams now claims his had “mistaken recollections,” but it has prompted NBC to investigate a number of Williams’ stories.

I’m sure, as humans, we have all made mistakes, so I am definitely not throwing stones at Williams, but it does reflect poorly on journalists as a whole.

The majority of Americans already believe the news media has difficulty reporting news without showing bias.

In fact, a study conducted by Newseum’s First Amendment Center just last year, showed that only 36 percent of those surveyed considered a journalist as “someone who creates stories based on objective fact.”

This isn’t the first time in recent history that journalism has come under fire because of poor decisions by reporters, anchors or editors.

In a day where the public demands that journalists almost know the news before it happens, there’s an ever-increasing quest for news now.

With that demand comes lax standards, which all too often create the need for apologies, corrections and clarifications.

Journalists are charged with seeking the truth and reporting it, first and foremost.

That’s our responsibility.

In fact, the Code of Ethics from the Society of Professional Journalist outright says, “remember that neither speed nor format excuses inaccuracy.”

Additionally, it also says, “never deliberately distort facts or context.”

Another important responsibility is balancing the public’s need for information against the potential harm of discomfort of others.

“Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness.”

All too often, journalists – particularly broadcasters, but some print professionals – forget that while it is our duty to hold the government and others accountable for wrongdoing and to provide readers, listeners or viewers with entertaining stories about people, places and events, it is our responsibility to be accountable and transparent.

So, do these things and stop giving journalists a bad name.