The vitriol ginned up by my last post proved the unstated premise that perceptions matter. Truth doesn’t matter. Further, it once again proved that people, acting on their preconceived notions, will read or listen for only those issues that would undergird their own concepts. It is called selective perception. I think in the case of my previous post, it may be an instance of selective exposure too.
Yes, the “Yawner?” post was long, some 900 words. It may have exceeded some readers’ attention span, just as President Obama may have lost some listeners along the way during his lengthy State of the Union speech. Readers of my post and viewers of the President’s speech came away with only those concepts that would resonate with their own rationale.
Here is what the post was about: The tension between professional journalists/journalism and social media. That’s all.
It was not about anybody’s political positions—mine or Robert Hadlock’s. It may matter that Mr. Hadlock wrote his “status” on Facebook during the State of the Union address and during the vote count in Massachusetts, but contrary to my critics, I cannot read his or anybody’s mind. I was not making an assumption.
This is what’s important: On Facebook unless the content and intent is clear, it can be misconstrued. In fact, in the previous post I said that.
Journalists must walk a fine line. Former journalist and author James Moore made that point at the end of the post. At the same time Facebook can be an extremely useful tool for journalists, it can also be hurtful for journalists.
When I left day-to-day journalism five years ago, I felt as though my Constitutional freedoms had been restored. For the first time in decades I could put stickers on my bumper and political signs in my yard. Before then, only my closest friends knew my politics.
Yet, when I was in “the business” and now, my words are being twisted by people who don’t even know me, saying in comments to my blog, that I seek to be the “thought police”. They told me I should “Get a life.” I was castigated for making assumptions, when the “Anonymous” writers were themselves making assumptions. One brought up the unlikely possibility of reinstating “The Fairness Doctrine”, apparently unaware that I addressed that topic not too long ago.
Knowing that the subject matter could be sensitive, I edited the “Yawner?” post carefully. Further, for fairness I sought and got Mr. Hadlock’s comments on his posts. I appreciate his response.
Further, one more time I want to say that Robert Hadlock is a class act, pro, and a man of great integrity. It was a pleasure working with him for close to 20 years. I smiled when I saw Robert’s latest “Status”: “Ah-CHOO”. It could be an acknowledgement that any journalist and certainly an anchor lives under a microscope, but I can’t read his mind. Indeed, bless you.
So, I stand by every word written in the previous post. In the context of my comments above, I encourage my critics to re-read “Yawn?” with an open mind leaving politics aside.
© Jim McNabb, 2010