Tag Archives: Principles Of Journalism

Thought exercise: What if the public didn’t care about truth?

Truth is one of the bedrock principles of journalism, as it should be.

But what if the public decided it placed zero value in truth? What if the public decided it sought nothing more than affirmation of existing beliefs, even if it came at the expense of truth? What if the audience cared about truth as much as they care about how the newspaper tastes?

Would the news media then adjust how it values truth? Would it stubbornly hold tight to truth as a bedrock principle, even as the public decided it would no longer support that kind of product? Would it shift along with the public, giving them what they want by doing away with fact-checking and ethical responsibilities?

Which would be the right decision?

This is an intentionally absurd, heretical question. I’m curious to see how journalists and non-journalists respond, and I hope there’s some good action in the comment thread.