CREDIBILITY MATTERS – Garry Armstrong

“The media always lies,” she said and I cringed.

Then, I got angry. Why do people believe a president who has never told the truth about anything while failing to believe the fact-based truth?

I’m not talking about “ultimate” truth or the meaning of life or faith. I’m talking about things that can be proved with evidence, science. Stuff caught on tape. Printed, heard, overheard, and to which testimony has been given.

I really hate it when I hear that cliché – “The media doesn’t tell the truth. They always lie.” It demeans all the passion and belief I put into more than 40-years as a working reporter. Moreover, it demeans the careers of so many others who give their lives in pursuit of the truth. Many, literally died in pursuit of the truth.

Photo: USA Today

I am not romanticizing my career. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve gotten it wrong. It happens when you’re covering multiple stories a day, 5 to 7 days a week. With deadlines breathing down your neck.

I always tried to clarify mistakes by accepting my culpability up front and being clear with viewers. There were many days when I hated what I had to do. Usually, it was in pursuit of a truth which would be ugly, demanding, tedious — and require a good deal of soul-searching. The truth isn’t simple, or black and white. Despite what you usually see on television or in movies about reporters, there aren’t many clear “wins.”

180-Graphic-Photographs-2-MOB-Party-04212018_036
The old days

Often, we’re lambasted for telling the truth by the same folks who call us liars. Jack Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” line should be crayoned on the skulls of those who insist the media always lies. Those critics are the same pilgrims who gobble up the pablum offered by the current White House Tenant who doesn’t know what the truth is. It’s like a foreign language to him.

I fervently wish that Those People who belittle the media and law enforcement officials spend some time, real-time — like 24/7 on the streets. The real streets, not just their cozy neighborhood. They might see life closeup without any of the public relations filters. I suspect those critics would change that tune and maybe sing a different song. They might think before they speak and see our world in three dimensions instead of whatever propaganda they accept in their biased, insulated worlds.

Finally, I’m proud of what I did for a living. For 40 plus years, I fought to tell the truth.

It was a privilege!

Author: Garry Armstrong

As a reporter for Channel 7 in Boston for 31 years, I was witness to most of the major events affecting the region. I met a lot of people ... politicians, actors, moguls, criminals and many regular folks caught up in extraordinary situations. Sometimes, I write about the people I've met and places I've been. Sometimes, I write about life, my family, my dogs and me. Or what might otherwise be called Life.

29 thoughts on “CREDIBILITY MATTERS – Garry Armstrong”

  1. I find it terrifying that your opening line is becoming a mantra for many. The automatic response to anything they disagree with in the media. Democracy needs journalists with your integrity and passion, I only hope the up and coming ones can survive the current status.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Becky, I share your hope for the media – current and future. Donzo’s petulant “witch hunt” whine about his accusors is the same thing he does with the media and those who disagree with his warped views.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I had a conversation with a friend — internet, but we talked on the phone, too — and I always knew she was a southern conservative, but one day she really DID say “The media always lies.” I took that personally. Garry spent his life trying his best to tell the truth, even when the truth wasn’t what people wanted to hear and my first husband (RIP) was also in radio and worked the news sometimes too. Neither of them ever intentionally told a lie to the public. Ever. When you plan a profession in journalism, the truth is your icon, your diva, your primary central issue. Mistakes and error occur, but have you ever seen politicians fired for INTENTIONALLY lying, much less making a mistake? Yet reporters are routinely fired for serious errors in reporting and always for lying.

    Unless they work for Fox where lying is what they do. We actually have news events when people report that Fox actually said something true as if it’s a national event!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Marilyn, sometimes you also engage your superiors in battle — if the truth is too unsettling and risks cash revenue. I had many suits demand that I “back off a little”. I always ignored them.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Old Guy, sadly there’s no bright light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re going into journalism, you need a tough hide. The “glamour” is misleading.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Leslie, some do fudge. But don’t use that to paint a broad stroke of cynicism across my profession. It’s taken a lot of blood, sweat and a few tears out of our collective lives.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cordelia. You’ll notice I just had to defend my profession again. I think many folks just see, hear or read the “Fox News Follies” and broadstroke all media people. Simply not fair or accurate. During my working YEARS, I’d often wonder if I covered the same story when I saw other reports. We have a way in “our biz” of getting the word out about these impostors. Presumably intelligent people should be able to sniff out the frauds unless they just want to accept what they’re seeing and hearing without any questions.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s horrifying to see the President castigate the media as he has — it all comes down to the fact that the media doesn’t idolize him as he would wish. It would be equally horrifying to see the media idolize him — their job is to ferret out and report the truth, so the country knows what is really happening!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Slmret, I SO agree. When he points his stubby little fingers towards the media area (with that smirky smile) and says “See –there they are — they’re all frauds” — the media cannot respond. They’re targeted by this bully who knows they can’t respond for professional reasons. Meantime, his faithful flock yell and applaud approval of his bullying tactics. It’s so bloody angering. I’ve been in similar situations — during my working years — you just feel helpless and frustrated., The people you’re trying to inform have blinders on. It used to give me incentive to work even harder.

      Like

  4. Donzo reminds me of Brod Crawford’s bombastic “Willie Stark” in Robert Penn Warren’s, “All The King’s Men”. You know how that ended…

    Like

  5. I was reading a comment on a friend’s post where the person said that almost all media lie about their guy, 45. I remarked back that it was amazing how the media, thousands of organizations worldwide, had gotten together and agreed to tell the same lies about this guy. The defense of 45 by saying almost all media lies is absolutely crazy. I guess the state propaganda network, aka FOX, is exempt from their criticism.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. “Ceaseless”, it’s usually money and the open invitation to spew their venom without reprimand from their smarmy superiors. They see little in the way of editing the poop they broadcast. No oversight.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Actually, there’s plenty of oversight. We just have to figure out a way to leverage our limited power for getting them off the air, out of print, & thinking more about others than their own bank accounts since their supervisors obviously have no interest in doing so. Right?

        Thank you, Garry. Take care, be well, and keep fighting the good fight!

        Denny

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think the media always lies but much of ours is controlled by Rupert Murdoch and I do feel that he wants to decide who runs our country. He’s not party specific, he’ll go with whoever will give him what he wants at the time. Some of the articles in his papers reflect this. Same with his TV channels and radio stations. There are some extremely right wing “shock jocks” and political commentators that I just can’t listen to because they have such an offensive way of speaking of those they don’t approve of. I don’t however call this journalism. It is opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.