The following is an excerpt from an essay written by the late Andy Rooney. It was written and published between 1982 and 1984. It should be required daily reading in every newsroom in America.
” THE JOURNALIST`S CODE OF ETHICS ”
” – The word journalist is a little pompous and I will only use it on special occasions.
- I am a journalist because I believe that if all the world had all the facts about everything, it would be a better world.
- I understand that the facts and the truth are not always the same . It is my job to report the facts so that others can decide on the truth.
- I will try to tell people what they ought to know and avoid telling them what they want to hear, except when the two coincide, which isn`t often.
- I will not do deliberate harm to any persons,except to the extent that the facts harm them and then I will not avoid the facts.
- No gift, including kind words, will be accepted when it is offered for the purpose of influencing my report.
- What I wish were the facts will not influence what investigation leads me to believe them to be.
- I will be suspicious of every self – interested source of information.
- My professional character will be superior to my private character.
- I will not use my profession to help or espouse any cause, nor alter my report for the benefit of any cause, no matter how worthy that cause may appear to be.
- I will not reveal the source of information given to me in confidence.
- I will not drink at lunch.
It needs work but it`s a start on an oath for reporters and editors. ”
*** END OF EXCERPT ***
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
The press is specifically named for protection for a very good reason, they were the only means for the people to be informed of the actions of their government, the only way for the people to know what was being done in their name.
That protection carries a much larger responsibility than the oath sworn by elected officials, the press is responsible for informing the people if the politicians oath is not being honored.
The press, as an institution, has not only failed miserably in upholding their responsibility, they have willingly and eagerly suppressed facts that are required for the people to make informed decisions.
They have done this for money, power and ideology.
Their thirty pieces of silver would make a fine weight with which to trip the gallows door.
Andy Rooney loved to build things from wood, I wonder, if he were here, would he help with the steps?