Dr. Larry Burriss

MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. --  Remember when Sergeant Joe Friday used to say “Just the facts”?  And remember when the heart of journalism was gathering facts and then writing a story based on those facts?  But what is supposed to happen if the reporters working on a story know the facts they are being given are wrong?  Should they challenge the source?

    That was the question a New York Times editor posed recently, asking if reporters should openly challenge public officials’ misleading claims.  The public seems split on the answer, but the quick answer is:  no.

MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. --  Almost everyone agrees that broadcasters should be prohibited from broadcasting “indecent” material.  And Federal Communications Commission rules, in fact, ban such broadcasts.  So let me ask you this:  What, exactly, is “indecent” material?

    This is the issue argued last week before the U.S. Supreme Court, in a case that challenges how the government regulates indecent broadcasts.  Note that the issue is not if the government can regulate such material rather, the question deals with how the rules are enforced.

MTSU

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  --  At the moment former speaker of the house Newt Gingrich appears to be leading other republican presidential contenders in the polls. I say “for the moment,” because by the time I finish writing these comments someone else may very well be the front runner.

A couple of my friends have noticed, with some chagrin, that everyone, including the media, seems to delight in attacking the front runners. The Japanese have a phrase for this sort of behavior: the nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down.

This week December 7th is the 70 anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Many people recall hearing James Daley make the news announcement about the attack, and today that tape is standard fare in history and broadcasting classes.

But what is also interesting is the effect the attack had on American media.

MURFREESBORO, Tenn.  --  I don’t know how many times we’ve said it, but let’s try again: the only thing worse than bad publicity is trying to cover up bad publicity. No, wait, there is something worse: being found out trying to cover up good publicity.

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