Assignment 10

Many people rely on news stations and channels for information. I think it is because it is a quick source of finding out what is going on. You can easily turn on your tv and access a local or national news channel. With the Internet, it provides another quick and easy source of gathering news. Simply by typing in, you are directed within seconds to a website filled with an overflow of current and breaking news. Even with newer forms of social media, such as Twitter, a person can easily go on and read a quick 140 character highlight about a news story. According to an article by Rasmussen Reports, fifty-six percent of the U.S. population get their news from tv and twenty-five percent rely on the Internet (Rasmussen Reports). Even if people don’t necessarily believe what they are reading or watching, I don’t think they want to take the time, or just don’t have the time, to read books such as War Games, In the Eyes of Others, and Emergency Sex, which attempt to expose the truth about news reporting, especially in warring countries.

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As I mentioned in another post, I am a broadcast journalism major. Before taking courses for my major and reading the books assigned for this class, I would always rely on news reporters from different channels and various news websites as a source to know what was going on in the world. But as of lately, with more and more being exposed about news reporters, I’m finding it harder to believe these sources of information. In my Broadcasting in the Public Interest class I took in the fall last year, we learned that what gets broadcast in the way of news has to serve the public’s interest, convenience and necessity. If it is true that news stations and reporters are exaggerating or lying about what they report, then this certainly does not fit into the broadcasting criteria. “Lying” does not fall into the public’s interest, convenience or necessity.

In War Games, Linda Polman attempts to expose the truth about news reporting in warring countries. At one point in the book, she mentions that the media paid children to look sad and wave their amputated limbs on camera without their prosthetic arms, legs, etc. to make the situation look worse than it really was (Polman, 63). But what if Polman was exaggerating or making this up entirely? It’s hard to say who’s right and who isn’t in these situations, because you wouldn’t know unless traveling to these places yourself. However, in my Broadcasting in the Public Interest class, we watched a movie called Control Room, about Al Jazeera, a news station in Qatar. This movie is a documentary about the U.S. war with Iraq ( It shows real footage of news reporters in this warring country and the destruction and devastation is certainly something that has no room left for exaggeration. At one point, a news reporter was even killed while out in the field trying to gather and report live news about what was actually going on. This documentary shows that not all news reporting is false. (Below is a link to the trailer of Control Room) However, only six percent of the U.S. population believes that news media is very trustworthy (Rasmussen Reports).


But the following video of a real live news report is probably one of the many reasons why only six percent of the population believes that the news media is very trustworthy.


In this video of a live news report in New Jersey, a woman reporting on a recent flood is seen paddling in a canoe through the water, making is seem as though the water was so deep you couldn’t walk through it, thus making the situation seem pretty bad. During her news report, a couple of people walk by and you can clearly see that the water barely even touches their ankles, exposing the news reporter’s extreme exaggeration. Although this does not take place in a warring country, I still think it is a great example of the exaggeration news reporters can put on stories. I think real and false news reporting goes back and forth like this, as well as the content in books such as War Games. It seems to be a constant battle between who and what is right. This leads to the main question “who to believe?”

In Emergency Sex, we are exposed to first hand experiences of what goes on in warring countries. I think it is easier to believe people like Ken, Andrew and Heidi because they are in these places for humanitarian work purposes. I do not think they would lie about what they see because they want to raise awareness about the reality of places such as Haiti and Rwanda. As humanitarians, they want the truth to be shared so that other people will reach out and help, much like they have done.

In conclusion, I think that all of this comes down to trust. As a broadcast journalism major, myself and other students in my classes, almost have an obligation to trust news reporting, especially since it is what we want to do as a career. We all have certain news reporters/anchors and news stations that we look up to and aspire to be like. With the dreams of one day being like these people, we believe they do no wrong and therefore trust what they say to us through our television screens. For the rest of the population who is not interesting in pursuing a career in this field, I think they have a decision. Do they trust these news reporters or do they trust the writings of people such as Linda Polman, Ken Cain, etc.?


“Broadcast Journo Exaggerates Flood.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 May 2006. Web. 27 June 2013. <>.
“Only 6% Rate News Media As Very Trustworthy – Rasmussen Reports™.” Only 6% Rate News Media As Very Trustworthy – Rasmussen Reports™. N.p., 28 Feb. 2013. Web. 27 June 2013. <>.
“Control Room.” IMDb., n.d. Web. 27 June 2013. <>.
Polman, Linda, Liz Waters, and Linda Polman. The Crisis Caravan: What’s Wrong with Humanitarian Aid? New York: Metropolitan, 2010. Print.
“Control Room Trailer.” YouTube. YouTube, 28 Aug. 2006. Web. 27 June 2013. <>.
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