Journalism Truth

by Gina Dunlop, Brisbane, Australia

I would like to make mention of the power media wields in our society, the influence it has determining the information we receive that shapes our lives. This is an area I have much interest in: I studied media at University, had a career in television production and am currently studying a post grad degree in education to teach English and Media to High School students.

My embarking on a career in teaching was motivated by a desire to present to the younger generation an awareness of the enormous influence media has on shaping their lives. To present to them skills to discern information and how to question what they read and see. The increased access to information via the digital world sees an even greater moral responsibility by parents and teachers to provide children with these teachings and awareness’s.

Governments have themselves stepped up in this responsibility and the new Australian Curriculum, the first Federal Curriculum implemented this year, states in the English Curriculum, “They (students) explore the ways conventions and structures are used in written digital, multimedia and cinematic texts to entertain, inform and persuade audiences…” Teachers are strongly encouraged to get students to understand that ALL that is seen and read is a personal point of view of someone.

Australian Communications and Media Authority have created lesson plans on digital media analysis, which focuses on highlighting to students the misrepresentation of the truth within the digital arenas they are engaged in and how to distinguish between reliable and unreliable information online.

The heinous misrepresentation of Universal Medicine in recent press demonstrates another chronic example of the irresponsibility of the press – the damage it does to individuals but also the lack of true representation for audiences who only unwittingly gain one side of a story. There is no intention to represent the truth in this example.

The representation of the truth within the media context has been a hot debate for decades. Whether true impartiality can exist is always in question. Marxist theories abound talking of journalists being agents of the capitalist state, keeping the workers blindfolded to the true nature of their exploitation. Recently, post-modern theories are exercised. A recent article in The Weekend Australian spoke of a body of academics speaking about linguistic theories claiming “we cannot have access to an objective understanding of any real world … language does not describe reality, it actually constitutes it…” And the media is constantly being exposed as only being concerned about profit maximisation through “cheap and tawdry entertainment and the exclusion or subordination of oppositional voices.” The news recently reported how journalists who attempted to report oppositional articles to the reasons behind climate changed received death threats.

There’s a lot of discussion on it. But let’s cut to the chase, despite these discussions, media reporting continues to show little integrity or intention to represent the truth. A quote recently made aware to me from Henry Thoreau goes, “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” I think this describes the above debaters. Could it be possible that these debaters are blissfully unaware that they are entrenched in a system that does not allow for open debate? And here’s one reason why. No new theory can be placed in the world because each idea has to be backed up by someone else’s theory. I cannot write an assignment for my degree about my ideas – I summarise other people’s ideas and have to reference them (in a special coded system) and conclude what I think is the best idea. Everything presented has to be backed up by an academic; it is the same for a Masters and a PHd and for journalists presenting an article.  Recent reports and committee hearings in Australia and the UK (headed by Tony Blair) may continue the debate of the ethics of journalism and the need to curb the freedom of the press, but their findings are still entrenched in verification from academic findings.

So whilst there is debate about representing the truth, where is the truth coming from and what is the truth they are trying to represent?  This could be the question worth asking, the one that brings us to ‘strike at the root.’ Could it be that the same truth is being regurgitated and formatted in different guises time after time.  Everyone is simply ‘hacking at those branches’ but society and its system does not allow for someone to strike at the root.

And here’s the crazy thing. If the article on Universal Medicine had been a true piece of investigative journalism, it could have brought them to discover a brand new debate about the absolute truth of all things. It could have had the potential to turn journalism on its head. It could have uncovered Universal Medicine presents an ancient truth, that the knowledge of all things is already known within each and every one of us.

Does this make sense to us? Could there be a situation worth considering where there is only one representation of truth – no political or personal agenda – not even two sides to the story that we are traditionally used to, no sides, just a clear account of what occurs. How could that be? How can we start to comprehend such a concept? Universal Medicine teaches the science behind how such presentation of the truth can exist.

Can I write this article clear of any personal agenda – maybe I first have to address any issues I might have which could influence the intention of this article; for example, if I had a need to be recognised, then this article would take on a different intention. If my intention is to represent the truth then my article has the potential to be clear. What are the intentions of media moguls? What are their personal and political agendas? Do they have any genuine intentions to consider their audience and help unite the world in presenting clear untarnished truths?

Considering this, it seems a lost cause. We are doomed. There’s a lot of work to do here. Where do I start as a teacher with a genuine intention to empower students to question all they see when it is entrenched in such tarnished misrepresentations? I initially could feel an enormous sense of overwhelm. Or, I could think outside conventional teaching, embrace the notion that my students already live with an ability to discern truth and see my role as presenting the opportunity for them to connect to that truth and from that place examine information. That truth is the knowing who they truly are – when that is learned – an individual does not need to look around for verification from anyone else to validate what they think, what they wear, what they say. When it comes from who you truly are, it is a true freedom of expression.

80 thoughts on “Journalism Truth

  1. Wow Gina Dunlop – what a stunning expose of our relationship with truth. How can we know truth if we are unaware of the prejudices, biases, preferences et al we are standing on in the first place? Yet, hidden in plain sight, is the ability we all have to sense when a thing is in fact true or not – if we are willing to reconnect to the truth of who we are and to trust our innate knowing once again. Awesome thank you.

  2. The world of academia as you describe it here, has created for itself a cul-de-sac of stagnation where nothing new can enter. Yet, if we are to look at the field of medicine for example, where does this leave us? Who is going to discover the penicillin of our future if our expression is so stifled?

  3. The irresponsibility of the press tells us something – How irresponsibly we have lived. We allowed these lies and manipulations. So next step? To live a life of integrity. Don’t allow these lies anymore. Step up for the truth, express it. EXPRESS IT! That’s the new way now and for ever. To be able to express truth we have to know the truth. How to find out? A good start can be to question. Question everything and also be there to support us all to discover the truth. Working together – not against each other for the best for one or a few. If not all benefit from it, it is not true or not complete.
    This reflections of life are really telling us something: something has to change. We have to change our way of living.

  4. What a great article, much to comment on. Firstly though, to the punch line – imagine what it would be like to know that we all have truth living inside us and when we connect to who we truly are we can access this and have no need for validation from anywhere outside of us. Imagine what that would mean in journalism? Or is that what the journalists are strangely afraid of, not recognising the potential of us all in equalness?

  5. What wise words Henry Thoreau shares for when we trim the branches of anything it just grows back, even stronger sometimes. But when we strike at the root it is the source of origin, the very foundation. Could this very principle be a new way to look at illness and disease and true health and healing vs the never ending search for a cure?

  6. A very impressive article Gina – a great synopsis of the media. What’s impressive is how you reveal and answer all the questions. Not so easy questions too but a simple presentation of just how it is.
    “Where do I start as a teacher with a genuine intention to empower students to question all they see when it is entrenched in such tarnished misrepresentations?” I love your answer to this. You start by telling them who they are. That they hold the truth within already. Where do we all start in any system that does not represent the truth? We just start – if it’s not true we call it Out.

  7. “So whilst there is debate about representing the truth, where is the truth coming from and what is the truth they are trying to represent?” Brilliant! Truth is incredible to feel and hear – It exposes and reveals more of who we are. We continually expand as is the design of the Universe. Otherwise “Everyone is simply ‘hacking at those branches’ but society and its system does not allow for someone to strike at the root.” To reach Truth is to feel and not hold back what is felt.

  8. I have also written many assignments for university and it’s true we have to reference other material to show or explain our point of view. You can pretty much find evidence for whatever your argument for or against thereby keeping discussions on any topic going round and round in a circle without actually coming to any understanding. It’s all about proving your point and that’s it. Apply that to media and it’s no different, everyone is trying to make their point and prove it. Then there is the vested interests for money, power, recognition, acceptance, fitting in with the crowd etc. Sections of the media only get away with it, because we lap it up, choose what we listen to and believe and take side. Media essentially would change almost overnight if we ask them to step up by not utilising their services for poor reporting and researching. But we make no such demands for they keep our news safe and comfortable and over there somewhere, where it’s not affecting me.

  9. “That truth is the knowing who they truly are – when that is learned – an individual does not need to look around for verification from anyone else to validate what they think, what they wear, what they say. When it comes from who you truly are, it is a true freedom of expression.” This is simply what we feel and know when we are connected to the essence of who we truly are, the energetic truth of all things.

  10. Because we believe that the media are bound by strict ethics and laws we assume all that they print is the truth. But the information that is shared to us is still determined on the discernment of what they choose to print and what they don’t choose to print and in turn, this is the exact same discernment that forms the basis of ‘the information we receive that shapes our lives’.

  11. Thank you Gina for a powerful contribution to this discussion. There is much talk of ‘fake’ news today and then there are those who attempt to obscure the truth by labeling what does not suit their agenda as fake news. Learning to discern for ourselves is a precious lesson for us all and knowing who we truly are is the foundation of knowing true truth.

  12. Media consumption is one of these areas in life where we lift any defence. Once we have decided the medium we want to get the news from, we go there open to receive the information. Yet, in such a state we can be abused and manipulated and we have to be aware of this if we give our power away to media.

  13. A great exposure. The way that the system is set up from university and beyond is ridiculous in that if something has not been backed by academics and peer reviewed it cannot be presented… leaving us to the regurgitation of information that leaves no room for another perspective due to it being unverified. If we apply the commonly known definition of insanity to be doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result…. Surely this is insane for it will never lead to any truth, nor true expression, just a repeat of what has already been.

  14. This blog really does bring home to me my responsibility to discern what is going on around me and my responsibility as a parent to reflect to my children a way of being that is true to the best of my ability. I could easily allow myself to feel overwhelm by it all, it is huge but developing a way of being that supports me to know who I am and to honour that is the answer that gives me the confidence to begin to recognise and become aware for what it truly is and therefore make changes in my every day living that support me and my family. Thank you Gina for sharing.

  15. Media has a great responsibility to humanity, because when truth is not represented or reported honestly, and journalists write from a particularly slanted view, there is nothing for the reader to truly learn, and if the journalist does not present a balanced view for the reader to discern for themselves, my question would be what is the journalist so frightened of presenting?

  16. In the media there is little to no desire to find or to publish the truth on any subject. Those that own the media have their own agendas that they want to impose on their readers and exposing truth is the last thing on their minds. On the contrary burying the truth may even be on their agenda.

  17. If there is a problem in the current media then there is also the same problem in the way people are being taught and shown media. It’s one thing to get to the end where you can clearly see at times it’s simply not working but we need to see that the very nature of this ‘problem’ lies in how media is studied and how they are supported in that study. The narrow view through which the current media reports isn’t going to change from someone casting stones from the outside, the very bedrock that it sits on will need to be broken and that in this day and age is how the media are educated. Granted there maybe some slight changes in how Governments and other agencies are cycling in their education but it more seems it’s in a better place rather then walking to the truth.

  18. The fact that all research needs to be backed by research is indeed a problem as unless we are asking the ‘root’ questions in the research we are going to keep hacking at the branches. Rather than wait, let’s keep talking about what is going on at the root and call for the relevant research.

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