Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and Accuracy In Media (AIM), are two of the most active media watch groups, who seeks to influence and encourage members of the media to deliver fair and objective information to the people, without injecting biases and personal opinions. FAIR considers themselves as a national media watch group who “offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship” ever since they started with the cause in 1986 (F.A.I.R., 2007).
On the other hand, AIM sees themselves as a grassroots citizens’ watchdog, which “critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage” (A.I.M., 2007). Simply put, they are both against the misinformation that the media sometimes deliver to the people because of personal reasons, like biases, opinions and more. But scrutinizing this two properly, the question would then be on who is able to convince more people regarding the slanted news and information of some media practitioners and agencies.
Looking closely on FAIR’s characteristics, they say that they seek both the opinion of the journalists and the activists. They present the side of the journalist, whenever they have presented a bit of a biased article or information. They give the journalist a chance to defend themselves and be able to explain further why they have resorted to writing such article.
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They also present the side of the activists and the critics who notices the mistakes and the points where the journalists went out of line. This is to provide a point of argument for the people, who usually wouldn’t realize that they are receiving biased commentaries from the people they would often think to deliver an unbiased report of the facts.
Because of this, FAIR keeps the line open between the journalists and the activists. Through them, they can keep a constant dialogue so that they could be able to work things out for them. This then leaves a room for improvement for the journalists, especially if they consider what the activists say. With the help from FAIR, they would know whether what they are doing is right or wrong. Through constant communication, they are able to sharpen their senses to bring about truthful, unbiased pieces of information for the public.
Another characteristic of FAIR is that they are encouraging the people to ask for the person responsible to change their ways, say, the media who gave biased information to the public. They are having a part where they propose a possible solution to a problem and then ask the people to act in order to solve that problem by following what they have suggested. An example would be asking them to call the person involve by giving that person’s contact number. They would encourage the people to ask for an explanation why that media practitioner made such a biased comment regarding a certain topic.
AIM on the other hand, sees that the media needs a watch dog, which is why they exist. They said that the news media don’t seem to always give out the right information, wherein they could be misleading the people or giving out biased information shadowed by their personal opinions. But looking closely at AIM’s works, they are more on the political opinions of the media. They are more into scrutinizing that these people should not reflect their political belief in what they are writing.
This has become a distinguishing characteristic, since most of their discussions are on whether some media personnel are for the democratic or the liberal side. In addition to that, they tackle on some publications that they see to “stir people’s minds” with what they publish. They say that these publications exist to deliver straight, hard hitting facts and information, and not to promote a certain belief or side they represent or endorse.
In comparing the effectiveness of both FAIR and AIM, it can be seen that both of them are getting feedbacks from people, saying that what they are doing are really helping out in delivering the appropriate, unbiased information. This means that both of them prove that they are effective. But comparing them FAIR is able to communicate more with the people with regards to the wrong-doings of the media. This is because of the wide range of topics and information that FAIR gives and they are not as much as shadowed by the political stand of the media, as compared to that of AIM.
In an article in the New York Times last July 3, 2007, writer Sheryl Stolberg has somewhat infused her thoughts in what she has written. The article was about President Bush deciding to commute the sentence of I. Lewis Libby Jr. who has committed a crime by lying to the FBI regarding an Iraq war issue (Stolberg, 2007). With Stolberg saying that the President seem to find the 30-month imprisonment for Libby as harsh, and that the case was a test of will, she was clearly sympathizing with what President Bush is feeling, whether what she said was factual or not. She mentioned that President Bush was forced to give the decision, a statement clearly implying of her, injecting her own opinions.
This article was taken by some media watch group negatively, saying that Sheryl Stolberg was violating the media ethics of delivering a truthful, unbiased news and information to the people. What she did was an act of showing her biases, which she was siding and sympathizing with President Bush. As a media practitioner, doing as such reduces her credibility to give truthful, untainted information to the people.
Democracy includes the people’s freedom to freely speak their minds, the freedom to voice out their opinions whenever they want. But democracies freedoms also have limitations. This is applicable to media, where in order to get a true grasp of a story, the media practitioner, journalists or reporters should be able to give the unbiased face of the story. In order to do so, they must set aside their own opinions and interests in order to give the appropriate information to the people. The media’s role in democracy is the freedom of all people to access information. This information must be untainted with the media people’s opinions or biases, in order not to mislead the recipient of these pieces of information, which are the masses.
A.I.M. (2007). What is Accuracy In Media(AIM)? Retrieved July 4, 2007, from http://www.aim.org/static/19_0_7_0_C
F.A.I.R. (2007). Media Views. Retrieved July 4, 2007, from http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=11
Stolberg, S. G. (2007, July 3, 2007). For President, Libby Case Was a Test of Will The New York Times.
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