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Blog 4: Journalist Roles in Times of Crisis

The events that happened on September 11, 2001 have forever changed every aspect of the American way. Perhaps the biggest challenge was bestowed upon the journalist. For the first time in decades, journalist were ask to explain their role during a time of crisis. Do they stick to their journalist creed and report objectively? Or do they report information that will uphold the administrations views? All of theses questions were present after 9/11 and the answers were astonishing.

Bill Moyer’s Buying the War truly asked what should the journalist roles be during a time of national crisis? To me, the answer is clear. No matter whether times are good or bad, journalist should always remain objective. They should report on the cold, hard, facts. In a time of national crisis, it is so hard for people to see other views. In the event of September11, out nation was shaken. We were scared and we didn’t know what to think or believe. In essence, the media should have been our guiding light. Instead, the media turned to the presidential administration for guidance. Journalist should never let the administration have this much power.  The press let the administration feed them facts that they then passed on to the American public.

In the event of another national crisis, the journalist should presume the role as watchdog instead of regurgitate. They need to be eyeing every move the government makes. During and after the crisis, the press needs to be super picky about every move that the administration performs. Although this action may irritate the administration, it provides an essential check and balance system. Allowing the press to pick apart the administrations actions only helps to strengthen the national strategy. Journalist should act as the devil’s advocate and expose any failures or wrongdoings in the administrations plans.

Should journalist challenge the president or military leader during a war? Absolutely. We have seen the effects of what happens when the press whole heartily stand behind the president and supports whatever he says. We end up in a war that is pointless. It is only be critique that we find flaws in our plans. After 9/11 America bonded and this sense of renown patriotism was found. To me, it appeared that the press might have felt the obligation to support the president’s agenda out of fear that they would appear unpatriotic if the questioned it. The fact of the matter is, the press should never be considered unpatriotic for expressing an opposing view. As this latest war has pointed out, we cannot let fear over run our emotions. We have to think reasonably.

 Overall, I think that journalist should play the role of practicality in a national crisis. They should reassure Americans of the truth. They should keep American’s level-headed and not let them get overran by emotions. Journalist should be the light in the midst of a national crisis, exposing the truth and leading to a clear future.

This video provides an interesting response to Moyer’s video.

  1. March 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    Good overview. But, how does this Bill O’Reilly video fit with the rest of your blog post? Does the O’Reilly video change your mind about the Bill Moyers video we watched?

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