October 11, 2016 (LD) – Journalism 101 – if one makes a mistake in an article, they must make the appropriate changes and note them in an “editor’s note” or equivalent. Just like a security guard standing watch and keeping a logbook at a U-Store-It, journalists are writing the world’s daily record. Changes must be noted clearly and concisely, otherwise anyone at any time can go back and change the daily record with the world being none the wiser.
For a security guard, this means covering up theft and other forms of impropriety, and likewise, journalists who covertly backtrack make it possible to tell any lie and leave little trace of it in hindsight.
That is why ethical journalism can and will admit mistakes, and note them when they make corrections. The daily record is that important.
If that is what genuine, ethical journalists do, then one can assume those not following this long-established, commonsense standard is not a genuine, ethical journalist.
Associate Press describes itself as:
…one of the largest and most trusted sources of independent newsgathering, supplying a steady stream of news to its members, international subscribers and commercial customers. AP is neither privately owned nor government-funded; instead, as a not-for-profit news cooperative owned by its American newspaper and broadcast members, it can maintain its single-minded focus on newsgathering and its commitment to the highest standards of objective, accurate journalism.
However, it is abundantly clear that AP is not trustworthy nor engaged in “newsgathering.”
Their “AP FACT CHECK” not only blatantly lied about the nature of military operations carried out by Syrian and Russian forces in their collective battle against terrorist organizations including the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” (ISIS), AP directly contradicted its own reporting on the Syrian conflict where they themselves repeatedly over the last year reported on Syrian and Russian forces fighting ISIS.
When caught lying, AP covertly backtracked and edited their “AP FACT CHECK” without including an editor’s note or equivalent. In doing so, they are attempting to sidestep responsibility for intentionally misleading their readers – an activity one would not expect from “one of the most trusted sources of independent newsgathering.”
Would any nation citing this unethical behavior before stripping AP employees of their journalistic credentials and deporting them be overreacting? The sort of lies AP is attempting to perpetuate are the same lies used to justify US military aggression against Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan. It is lies like those told repeatedly by AP and others that have allowed the conflict to rage on for 5 years in Syria.
Mischaracterizing the conflict – and specifically lying about Syria and Russia’s role in directly confronting ISIS both in the air and on the ground – has cost the lives of thousands as well as regional security and stability. Such lying also has allowed the US to menace the region with the possibility of directly military intervention based solely on claims that Syria and Russia are killing “civilians” rather than fighting ISIS.
AP’s lies have a tangible cost, and revoking their journalistic credentials is a small price to pay to prevent these costs from becoming steeper still. In the aftermath of World War II, German war propagandists faced direct and severe penalties for their role in deceiving the public and creating the pretexts for invasions, occupations, and an array of other atrocities. Why should AP and other media organizations across the West be spared now for doing likewise?