Media coverage 101 in politics: No spins, just facts

Media coverage 101 in politics: No spins, just facts

Quezon : Philippines | Aug 17, 2012 at 9:30 PM PDT
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As the 2012 U.S. election becomes more exciting and decisive, media coverage of politics is spot-on, die-hard reporting, focusing on the just facts. Sound impossible? Yes.

In these modern days of information overflow, political facts have become synonymous with political opinions, except if they are verified. But do common voters have sense of fact-checking? Not all, but most of them.

Headlines in most mainbar and stories in sidebar can hardly be called just-the-facts reporting. If you're not "too journalist enough" of a reader, you would have ended up believing. Of course, I exaggerate it. But this is cold fact. If you only read a certain report half-baked, then beware of this: You are now committing a fault of irresponsible reading and you are a victim of irresponsible writing, as well. But who's to blame? Do you think it's the reader or the writer?

"No spins and just facts" must be the optimum standard and basis of reporting or in covering of beats. This must be the basic rule in the so-called "media coverage 101." Media people are said to be the mouthpiece of the society, so their responsibility and accountability must be held in the highest regard. But this context of media responsibility and accountability is too ideal in a not-so-ideal society where politics is in action, especially the approaching Republican and Democratic conventions.

Oftentimes, we hardly read reports in most media organization before arriving at the facts. Doing so because it adds up sense of journalism -- a way of writing with a thrill -- that is how we define journalism nowadays, isn't it?

Moreover, reports in most media organizations trivialize important events or understate facts in what had actually happened, especially in political events or campaigns. I call this the dark side of the culture of journalism. Such culture has already been identified in the past, and it continues to downplay the present media advocacy for responsible reporting and will continue downplaying the same media advocacy because it's already in every fiber of reporting. It's already an institutional disease. A cure seems hopeless.

Media coverage in the upcoming Republicanic and Democratic conventions, though quite unfaithful in various aspects of reportage, still is the best contribution of media organizations to the society in helping voters decide a November election that will mark another feat in American history. Whether media organizations trivialize or overstate political facts, there can be no other means in human technology advancement as very useful as media coverage.

Although a report by Pew Research Center showed that the credibility ratings for most media organizations in U.S. are declining further, this study would never affect the level of necessity of media coverage especially in political events that will shape American history. Still, American voters have the right to know.

In all media organizations' coverage, whatever their nature of reportage -- be it biased or half-baked, be it overplayed or downplayed plain facts -- still the gap between the misinformed and the well-informed exists. Although there can be ways to improve media coverage, but ways of improving it seem to be hopeless now. The respected roles of media in politics are either prejudiced or stereotyped. However, in reportage, what comes at the end of the rainbow is the interest being preserved.

Media organizations may have done their share. American voters should likewise do their part -- get involved, fact-check, and decide based on conscience.

If you like to write about U.S. politics and Campaign 2012, enter "The American Pundit" competition. Allvoices is awarding four $250 prizes each month between now and November. These monthly winners earn eligibility for the $5,000 grand prize, to be awarded after the November election.

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Political conventions approach
Sarah Palin speaks during the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The 2012 GOP convention begins later this month in Tampa. (Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Twinkletoez)
Regel Javines is based in Quezon, Central Luzon, Philippines, and is a Stringer on Allvoices.
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