Friday, January 29, 2010

Okay. Let's Try This Again

Yawn .2

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


Anonymous said...

News McNabb:

Many of us wish you and Mr. Moore would have interpreted Mr. Hadlock's postings differently. "Yawn" could have meant he emphathised with the great Senator Harry Reid, who yawned at the start of the President's speech. He's been working overtime to raise taxes to end Global Warming!
"God Bless America" could have meant that despite Brown's victory in Mass., Mr. Hadlock was overjoyed that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was still in power working to bring free government-run healthcare to all.

Just think, ABC's George Stephanopoulos proudly admitted he cried tears of joy the night the most radical, wealth destroying president in our history ascended to power. Perhaps because of that admission and his years of experience in democrat politics - including a stint in the Clinton war room - it's no surprise his superiors promoted him to anchor ABC's GMA. (And guess who gets the most access to Dear Leader for exclusive softball interviews?)

Mr. McNabb, Please do Mr. Hadlock and all other local reporters a favor - infer they are liberal. It's the path to glory, adulation and riches.

Donkey D.

Lance said...

Gosh, off the net for a few days and I open NN to find this? Like a forgotten and ripe bag of trash...
First of all Jim is more ethical and wiser than most of the wanna bees that read or post here. Many a fool has fallen to his pen, and the Austin you take ownership in today is better for it. He isn't afraid to point out the nuance in things. Robert may have, or have not intentionally posted such.
I used to bitterly police Reporters who strayed from a "middle of the road" approach, at work or at home. I called it "Preserving the myth". The myth that we as Broadcast Journalist were squeeky clean and trustworthy, like "Andy of Mayberry" or even KVUE's presentations in the early 80's. Fair and balanced, in the real sense. As in unbiased.
As in trusted to present both sides in an evenhanded manner.
This isn't to say bias wasn't there. A subtle adjective could color an entire package. The tripod set a little high or a little low could color a soundbite. In pure ethics, that would be wrong.
We may be seeing localizations of the Fox net vs...vs...everything else. Has anyone done an item on how politics has boiled down to a "team sport" and you're either on one side or the other?
Forget fixing this with the current midset.

Anonymous said...

So here's the bigger question in all of this: WHO CARES?

So the anchor of the local NBC affiliate has a Facebook account. BFD. He has 607 "friends." And? The point?

More interesting to me is what percentage 607 is of the average KXAN news viewing audience on an average night. I suspect it's not much. And I also suspect that a fair number of those 607 are likely actual family, friends and people in Hadlock's professional and social network...not simply average KXAN viewers.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter if Hadlock says "yawn," declares that he's craving Taco Bell, or wants you to know that he just passed wind. A miniscule sliver of the actual viewers of KXAN news product are probably even paying attention to any Robert Hadlock Facebook entry.

To even muse over the idea of Facebook as a journalistic tool is silly. Facebook is for playing Mafia Wars and Farmville. Facebook is for yukking it up with friends and posting funny pictures. I'd bet that virtually no one is out there seeking out whether or not journalistic integrity has been sullied because some local TV anchor made some random comment.

Nobody cares. They're busy collecting strawberry cows and posting pics of last weekend's party.

Journalists should stop jerking around with Facebook, Twitter and the like as supplements to their work and just focus on their jobs.

台中 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Richard Nixon put reporters who published critical articles about his administration on an "enemies" list. Obama is assembling an enemies list that would make Nixon blush. Reporters, be very careful with your tweets and FB musings: