In no particular order:
- Textbooks are carefully vetted for their content. In recent years, there have been any number of partisan battles to rewrite a historical bent but these seldom occur in backrooms. This means what schoolchildren learn has undergone some degree of scrutiny. The information available to adults by way of media does not undergo an equivalent degree of scrutiny for accuracy; in fact, it is legal for media to outright lie. This placed the burden of critical evaluation on consumers who more often than not, do not have the wherewithal to carry out that responsibility. ‘You decide’ is by definition, not journalism. I am not knowledgeable of most topics, I need knowledgeable journalists to accurately *and* pointedly highlight lies, mis-directions and distortions.
- Today’s news in tomorrow’s historical record. Consider how little we know about the past (very little is known about lives of slaves, women and poor) because only white male voices were recorded, often silenced by deliberately and maliciously enforced illiteracy. There’s is no excuse or justification for that in this day and age of near universal literacy and vast mechanisms of information dissemination.
- Some examples of false binaries that the media promulgates by never deviating beyond their boundaries: (a.) Political ideology is not fully covered by the Democratic Party’s definition of ‘liberal’ and the Republican Party’s definition of ‘conservative’. Alternate models of organizing health insurance (user pays vs single payer) or childcare (private vs. state subsidized) or criminal justice (reform/punitive) for example. (b.) Social gender is not biologically defined by sex; neither is biological sex always clear cut. All issues related to sexual identity and sexuality. (c.) Socialism is always public and capitalism is always private. Private insurance providers run by socialist principles; publicly owned utilities operate much like capitalist corporations.
- What it means to be ‘objective’ or ‘neutrality’, journalistically speaking? (a.) to not insert any voice outside of the news item — journalism by stenography or “ ‘you decide’ journalism”; (b.) insert ‘opposite’ voice of news item — journalism as sports commentary; (c.) insert corrections of specifically mentioned lies; (d.) insert relevant factual context — for example, “…the millions of dollars mentioned by the Senator lost to fraud accounts for less than 1% of the overall program.”; (e) insert long term context — future cost/savings; past injustices.
Your essay was couched primarily in terms of journalistic integrity; it’s critical to also include the responsibility journalism has to public and social integrity.