prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Private Lies Exposed

Posted by prof e on October 12, 2016

A journalist’s job is to find and report the truth. Assuming for a moment that “the truth” exists and can be found and identified as such, journalists still face a plethora of challenges as they go about their work. For starters, the truth can be inconvenient. Thanks to Al Gore, the inconvenience of truth is now forever linked to a particular issue; global warming. But every issue has its inconvenient aspects. For example, a journalist may uncover a fact that runs counter to her personal values or beliefs. Or, a discovery may reveal a truth that defies simple explanation.

Of course a truth revealed can also be terribly inconvenient for the news maker. Celebrities, politicians, and others in the public eye are constantly trying to manage their public perception…which is often at odds with their private reality. Last week’s revelations from Wikileaks and NBC/Access Hollywood have been very inconvenient for Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump respectively for obvious reasons. The leaks, while damaging, do not break new ground but rather reinforce existing concerns about Clinton’s propensity for lying and Trump’s sexist and demeaning behavior towards women.

In each case the public figure is damaged when the private self is suddenly revealed. This is, of course, most pronounced when the public and private selves are substantially at odds with each other. The greater the difference, the more pronounced the conflict when the private self is exposed. This kind of hypocrisy, of which we are all guilty on some level, can derail a public figure when it spins out of control. The public demands authenticity, or at least something closely resembling it, from their leaders.

Journalists are often the ones who have the dirty job of pointing out hypocrisy wherever and whenever it exists…even when it is found in “their” candidate…or themselves.


13 Responses to “Private Lies Exposed”

  1. Dominick Faust said

    I do feel like it is the job of the journalist to pull out the truth regardless if it something that they agree with or not. Sometimes those leads may possibly lead a journalist into a sticky situation such as the one with Elizabeth Cochrane. She was assigned a story that looked deeper into the Woman’s Asylum as to what was really happening inside. She had herself committed to the asylum to investigate firsthand. I think this is a perfect example of journalist doing the dirty work to get to the bottom of the real truth.

  2. Alexandra Purcell said

    The truth is a hard thing to swallow sometimes, and as it’s often said, it hurts. No matter what side you stand on, there’s always going to be damaging information out there that will either cause rifts or strengthen ones that already exist. I agree with you when you say it’s the job of the journalist to uncover these truths no matte their own views. I think what often happens — with everyone, not just journalists — is that while they’re researching to know more about their opinion they accidentally uncover exactly what they didn’t want to know. I feel that Fox News and CNN are each going through their own forms of this with the Access Hollywood tapes ant the Wikileaks email scandals, but I think that both news sources are choosing to focus more on one side than the other, ignoring the damaging evidence regarding their candidate of choice.,

  3. Gabriel Lucero said

    I agree with Dominick Faust, I think if you want to be in the public eye then journalist shouldn’t have to dig out the truth. I think they need to face their skeletons in their closet and then not lie about it but I hope you have a good explanation. This could be somewhat related to yellow journalism because a lot of things are being exaggerated but then it’s for the good, I guess since we’re picking someone to run our country for the next four years we probably do need to emphasize someone flaws in order to get the truth in order to make a good choice for president.

  4. Hunter Fillmore said

    When talking about a journalist job it can always be controversial because of the press exposing a persons privet information. This is very controversial with the presidential election because the people want to see the truth behind the future leader of their country and it is the medias way to show the American people their options, but this is not always the best representation because people always want to see the good and not the bad. The medias job has become more about exploiting the horrific things the candidates have done rather than displaying them in a good light. The question can be asked, should all of this have stayed private or is the media just doing their job? Do these candidates have a right to privacy?

  5. Rebekah Amaro said

    In the article Private Lies Exposed by sebersole asserts how journalist overpower person’s business and their private information is then exposed to all who can view it. It’s their job to seek the truth regardless if you admire it or not within the situation.”The greater the difference, the more pronounced the conflict when the private self is exposed. This kind of hypocrisy, of which we are all guilty on some level, can derail a public figure when it spins out of control. The public demands authenticity, or at least something closely resembling it, from their leaders” (sebersole). Journalist are suppose to seek the truth so society is able to know the fact of the world. The media is a powerful source to receive information about updates in our lives. Journalist should be able to gather the correct news to elaborate so we understand which events are happening each day. Nobody wants to hear lies from these journalist even if society doesn’t agree with the facts.

  6. Deyon sizer said

    When someone becomes famous it’s a unwritten agreement that their life becomes the entertainment of others and he people that spearhead this are those in journalism. Whether this is right or wrong isn’t up to me to decide but people are entitled to their own privacy and to be famous you lose that ability. I believe journalism is dirty when unlawful methods are used to get the information their searching for

  7. Natasha Grimaldo said

    although it is not easy to come out and express or expose the truth about someone or something, I feel it is very necessary. the truth hurts, but it is also hard to come by. journalist are a source of information to the public the provide a viable insight to what is happening. They cannot hide behind scandals and lies, it is their job to get to the bottom and expose the truth no matter how hard. it is through muchrakers’ that the hard truth comes out, and we need that.

  8. Will Skay said

    While figures that are often in the public eye are the easiest example of the contrast between someones private and public selves I think this is true for almost everyone. To be accepted by a group or society you are expected to follow certain unspoken rules if you wish to be accepted. I am personally guilty of my public and private selves differing, sometimes i will be silent about an opinion or say something contrary to what i believe to avoid certain people or groups of people.

  9. Tori Gilford said

    It is a journalist’s duty to provide its readers with the truth. How a person perceives the truth depends on how the journalist organizes the facts from multiple sources to tell the story. Some people view the information as news, while others find the same content entertaining. A journalist’s morals can be a reason for certain truths they choose to publish. For example, John Peter Zenger was arrested for seditious libel, when he published articles that courts defined as defaming a public official. In those days, it was illegal to speak or publish anything bad about those who held a government office and the government itself whether or not the information was true. The trial was won by the defendant and made the First Amendment of the Constitution what we know today.

  10. Matt Jesik said

    I feel that many journalists get into sticky situations, but also that many of them have to. Even though many journalists find the truth, they can still be biased on what they report. Looking at all these wikileaks, the American people deserve the truth. Reading the article about computerized journalism we will never find the truth, and we will only see what’s being showed publically. Yes people deserve privacy, but also people deserve the truth and that’s what journalists do.

  11. Patrick O'Malley said

    I think no matter what it is important for journalist to find and report the truth in any given circumstance no matter how famous or important the person in the story may be. In this era of news people can say anything because everyone has access to the internet and i always catch myself seeing people around my age believing everything they read or hear from the internet when most of the time it’s not true. That’s why i think it’s very important real journalist do everything they can to report authentic stories so everyone can benefit from it at the end because no matter how bad or good the truth may be people deserve to know it.

  12. Leanne Sanchez said

    According to our textbook, journalism can be described as, “the first rough draft of history” and I think that is significant to this post because although journalists do potentially have the power to alter society’s perception of celebrities or politicians, at the same time what they publish is consumed by a variety of citizens nationally, and that has the power to influence changes in our country. For example, throughout the whole election, several articles came out which purposely exposed lies Hilary Clinton had hidden from the public and Donald Trump was exposed for several instances when he was disrespectful to women, which divided a large portion of the country and influenced voters during the election. Therefore, journalism is important not only for informing its readers, but it is also a powerful way to encourage actions from those people as well.

  13. Linda Laydon said

    “Truth”by who’s standards? Yes the journaslists is responsible for devulging the news, but to what extent?. Is “The Gold Standard” always in place, probably not. After all isn’t the journalist out to get the “SCOOP”, take “Nellie Bly” all she wanted was to report the news and in the process lied about who she was, so how is the public suppose to believe a liar when she cannot tell the “Truth”. After all isn’t it about how the journalist wants the public to percieve the “Truth”. Look at the lenghs they went to for Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, one was a liar and the other a sexist. This was very damageing to both candidates. I believe that was a no win situation neither one was fit to run for president. So our society choose a sexist president that demeans woman ,instead of a liar. Like I said a no win situation. Regardless I believe that the journalist needs to report the news accurately,truthful,hold individuals accountable and maintain their own integrity as well as the integrity of the news.

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