We have a right to know when someone in our neighborhood has been arrested for a sex offense, and a right to know when a school principle has been arrested for a DUI.Do we really? What is the exact purpose of an arrest? The FreeDictionary states:
The purpose of an arrest is to bring the arrestee before a court or otherwise secure the administration of the law. An arrest serves the function of notifying the community that an individual has been accused of a crime and also may admonish and deter the arrested individual from committing other crimes. Arrests can be made on both criminal charges and civil charges, although civil arrest is a drastic measure that is not looked upon with favor by the courts. The federal Constitution imposes limits on both civil and criminal arrests.
|photo by Stuart Miles|
But what if the police get it wrong? What if they focus on a culprit because statistics say that person is most likely to have committed the crime? I'm just wondering how many people have been accused and then later it is discovered that the butler really didn't murder the maid in the dining room with the knife? By the time the error is discovered, that principle has lost his job, or that teacher has been robbed of her career. Because there is a taint on their reputation, they can't go back to business as usual. It isn't only the police that get it wrong.
My major concern here is that our news is becoming more and more opinionated; and that innuendo is ruling the roost rather than hard facts. Take Herman Cain for instance. He backed out of the race because the innuendo was too hard to overcome. No one was listening to the facts... or were they? Is our media becoming too biased? Is the American public still smart enough to decipher between opinion and fact?
Yellow journalism is not new. Sensationalism has always sold more papers than dry, boring facts presented in dry, boring words. Now that the internet has taken over the way people get their news, and it's more convenient to have a headline pop up on your phone than to sit quietly with coffee and the newspaper in the morning, we have news companies vying for your attention. What better way than to take on the irresponsible tactics of the National Enquirer, or other rag?
The question here is how do self-respecting citizens command more responsible reporting? Is there a way we can make journalists quit reporting from their own bias? Take a look at the different kinds of bias.
I never realized how much "bias" there is! I found an interesting article that talked about the different 'types' of bias with examples of each:
- Bias by commission
- Bias by omission
- Bias by story selection
- Bias by placement
- Bias by the selection of sources
- Bias by spin
- Bias by labeling
- Bias by policy endorsement or condemnation
Have you detected any of these lately?