To “Everyone”: The need for Intellectual Honesty, Integrity & Impartiality in all walks of Life
Updated: Feb 15
Feb 14, 2021: This short article is not about politics. There is no intention to promote one political orientation over another. This short essay is, however, intended to highlight the negative consequences and “toxic spill-over” effects of a society and business culture that seems to be increasingly shaped and calibrated by a steady stream of ideological fanaticism, mis/dis-information, social media censorship, deceptive media bias, and intellectually dishonest journalism coverage. This article was inspired by a telling 7-minute news video involving an exchange between CBS News reporter Lana Zak and a lead lawyer representing President Trump’s legal defense team (Michael van der Veen) during the recent Impeachment circus conducted in Washington DC. I suspect a few readers of this article will have dropped off the moment the name “Trump” was mentioned above – and this type of response would make one of the points this article seeks to make. Fortunately, for those of you with an open enough mind, this article (and the referenced short CBS News video) may promote self reflection in terms of your approach to today’s version of news and journalism and how you process it.
During the CBS interview conducted on February 14), Michael van der Veen was asked to summarize the outcome of what was ultimately proven to be a second unsuccessful, baseless and partisan impeachment attempt. Van der Veen’s response was:
“What happened at the Capital on January 6 is absolutely horrific. But what happened at the Capital during the impeachment trial was not too far away from that.” (CBS Morning News, February 14)
At face value and aided by predictable twisting from media and journalists, the low-informed or poorly informed viewer may be tricked into misunderstanding this summary statement made by van der Veen. The point of emphasis for van der Veen was not intended to diminish the disturbing events that took place on January 6th (with a predictable media emphasis on approximately 150 rogues who have been used to describe the other 800 thousand patriots who peacefully assembled that fateful day), but rather to remind everyone willing to listen and see that last week’s baseless impeachment gong show was all about deception and misinformation intended to manipulate and balkanize the masses (a fact pattern that persists virtually every day and with every “hot topic”). For the purposes of this article, the point of emphasis is that this brand of propaganda is happening across all walks of life (from politics, business culture, covid, climate change to race relations) and this author will leave it up to the reader to derive the possible reasons and motivations as to why the media and journalists have such a deep pathology of egregiously misinforming and deceiving its base of followers.
As you watch the 7-minute CBS interview, consider the following questions. What level of professionalism was demonstrated by Lana Zak? Are you comfortable with media agents and journalists lying and downplaying their lies, especially when caught red-handed? Do the words and responses of van der Veen resonate with you? Regardless of your ideology, is the notion of arrogant, rude, rigid, slanted, and manipulative media coverage acceptable? Should the notion of journalistic integrity and honesty not take significant priority over the media’s predispositions and biases over their “desired outcomes” in coverage? Should media and journalism not be held to at least a basic standard of “living by their words”? All of these questions are simply meant to guide you through your own assessment (without commenting on this author’s opinion) of this specific example of media “coverage” and the approach taken by CBS and its anchor Lana Zak.
Where this article migrates across all “walks of life” (including business) is where a process and means of news reporting exploited by the media endorses a moral code and ethical compass that is anything but moral and principled. This author’s concern relates to a perception that developing and maturing business minds are being shaped (or at least conditioned) by the disturbing trends of information manipulation and dishonesty aimed at delivering “targeted outcomes”, irrespective of intellectual and ethical integrity. We all must ask ourselves if the mendacious standard and pathology set by our media is suitable for any aspect of our lives .. including business.
In this era of “cancel culture” and “social media shaming”, it is essential to hold ourselves to a level of morality, honesty and integrity far exceeding the example being set by our media and journalists and to do so across all walks of life – spanning the full spectrum of personal to professional relationships and interactions. Stay informed and always remain true to your own form of intellectual integrity, curiosity and honesty. By: Extremely American Colin Wright