Honesty is our policy

Calyn Dunklau, Opinion Editor

Recently, the honesty of one of America’s most familiar and to some, most trusted, news anchors, Brian Williams, has come under scrutiny.

Williams admitted to lying; he was not, in fact, in a helicopter hit by ground fire while in Iraq in 2003. The aircraft that was actually hit was flying roughly an hour ahead of Williams’ helicopter.

As the details emerge, many people are left wondering, if you can’t trust Brian Williams, who can you trust?

The problem with Williams, and many other anchors like him, is the need for an entertainment factor. More and more anchors are getting away from hard news and pushing further and further into the entertainment side of reporting. The thing is, there shouldn’t be an entertainment side to reporting. At least, not when it comes to hard news.

As journalists, it’s our job to get people the real, factual news. That responsibility is unavoidable when entering into this field.

With the introduction and burgeoning use of social media, the entertainment side of reporting continues to grow in popularity.

While there isn’t anything wrong with enjoying watching the news, the subject matter should dictate how much entertaining is done. Too many people take quips from John Stewart and assume it is the truth. Stewart may have a fragment of truth in what he’s saying, but he is there to entertain. Viewers are what drive his show, not factuality.

Unfortunately, people are gullible. This hasn’t changed in hundreds of years. And with the use of social media, more and more people seem to be falling into that category.

You can’t believe everything you read on Facebook or Twitter. You hope you can trust the high profile news anchors, but you should be doing your own homework too.

Fortunately, not all journalists feel the need to make ficticious claims. The better portion of us are content to report what we know to be fact, entertainment be damned.