In his Fox Sports column, Jason Whitlock says that the Bernie Fine case explains why the public is losing faith in the media. Reports show that the Syracuse Post-Standard failed to turn over to police the tape recording in which Fine’s wife expressed concern that her husband was sexually attracted to young boys because editors wanted the big scoop.
Years ago, long before America devolved into the world’s favorite reality TV show, US newspapers and journalism used to be about protecting our democracy and local communities.
Since Watergate and the deification of Woodward and Bernstein, American journalism has valued the salacious, instant-gratification, ratings-driving scoop above all else. Over the past 15 years, the 24-hour news cycle and the Internet hastened our descent into the kind of journalism that reports first, clarifies and fact-checks later and eventually gets around to context and perspective … as long as the public still has an appetite for the story months later.
It’s in this environment that convicted Ponzi schemers can repeat unprovable tales of paying for abortions and a local newspaper can sit silent for nearly a decade about a trap it set that possibly revealed a child molester.
The big scoop is our addiction. We don’t care how we get it. We’ll rehabilitate the reputation of Nevin Shapiro to get it. And, in the case of Bernie Fine and Syracuse University, we’ll conceal potentially incriminating evidence to protect our right to be first with the news.
Read Jason Whitlock’s entire column at Fox Sports.