Betrayal of vocation | The Manila Times
There is a reason soldiers and police have a responsibility to uphold the law even when it comes to crime suspects, and why rules of engagement exist even in wartime, especially when it comes to the treatment of prisoners of war. Indeed, the burden falls on state actors.
Thus, even while rebellion and terrorism are criminalized, agents of the state have no free license to inflict inhuman punishment and torture on rebels and terrorists.
An entire apparatus of government in the United States was taken to task when it was proven that prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay were subjected to inhumane treatment.
After all, legitimate holders of power and authority are supposed to have the moral upper hand to display legitimate behavior. Similarly, those who claim to have the legitimate authority to perform certain tasks, because they are fired, or it is the code of conduct of their profession, or it is at the very heart of the duty that accompanies a job particular, are always expected to also behave accordingly.
This is precisely why it is outrageous to see priests who are supposed to carry the gifts of understanding and forgiveness that emanate from God being the same beings of judgment who label people as evil and unworthy to hear Mass simply because they support a particular candidate. It is also abnormal for licensed psychologists and therapists to behave like trolls on social media.
It is particularly infuriating to see teachers joining the fray and calling people ignorant and stupid. It is depressing to see seasoned researchers with hundreds of science citations added to their resumes, now becoming catalysts for challenges to the ethos of science, as they let go of their healthy skepticism when they fall in love with political narratives individuals as if they were biblical truths. But certainly, nothing beats the scandalous spectacle of teachers of statistics who turn against the very principle of scientific investigations simply because the results of those that have been published do not conform to their favorite candidates.
There is now a lot of talk about the prevalence of misinformation in social media, which some studies have found to favor one candidate while being disadvantageous to another. A lot of energy has been focused on fake news being peddled on social media by accounts that are mostly partisan, or otherwise come from bought trolls. While efforts should be made to address this problem — without this meaning that we should tolerate the trafficking of fakes and misinformation — it is important to recognize that this behavior comes from people who are combatants in a political contest and who are supporters of their own biased positions. They are not expected to abide by a certain code of professional conduct, and they may even argue that they are merely exercising their right to free speech.
There is no doubt that peddlers of falsehood and disinformation should be dealt with accordingly under the terms of acceptable community behavior imposed by social media platforms and, if warranted, under criminal law, such as laws on cyberdefamation.
But the bigger question is when professional journalists in the mainstream media are the ones who break their oath to be unbiased news bearers. They now look like armed government officials who break the rules of engagement and inflict unwarranted violence on suspects, simply because they both betray their commitment to their profession. There aren’t many expectations from a supporter who is blindly loyal to a particular political figure and peddles lies on social media. But the bar is much higher for news anchors, or field reporters, or even network managers and editors to be professional in everything they do. The offense is greater the moment they break their codes of ethics and begin to be subject to their own political biases.
I have read a journalist claiming that his commitment is to the truth, whoever may be hurt by it. This, however, is not a blanket warrant and cannot be used to justify biased reporting that has become a model against a personality and paint it with the facade of fairness. Biased journalists should stop assuming that everyone is gullible and that they can always make believe their false fairness. Many of them have social media accounts where they openly display their own biases. Their on-cam and off-cam behavior reveals these biases. For example, a simple analysis of Rappler’s content, in terms of the frequency and content of their reporting and coverage, unmistakably reveals what it really is: a staunchly pro-Robredo and anti-Marcos online news platform. . We can see it in the political leanings of its leaders, editors and writers.
The truth can never be used as an excuse to cover up bias, especially in the face of these glaring realities of partisan agents and stories. In the same way that soldiers can justify their unwarranted political violence against suspected terrorists and rebels by simply simplifying the safety of citizens’ lives, biased journalists often use the truth as an excuse to focus on a particular political figure. The truth is not one-sided and it is always completed by looking to the other side, no matter how inconvenient. How can there be truth, for example, if Rappler checked me out without even asking my side?
There is an epidemic of misinformation that upends the truth. While it is easy to label trolls and supporters as peddlers of falsehood and disinformation on social media, the greatest culpability lies with those who use the power of their privilege as smitten journalists working in mainstream media. public to distort the truth. Worse, they further use this privilege to claim that their versions of the stories are always true, that they have indeed interviewed all sources and considered all angles.
When trolls peddle misinformation, they’re just being themselves. But when journalists do that, they betray their calling.
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