Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Free and Honest Press ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

A Free and Honest Press ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

Years ago when I was on a college debate team, there were two news sources we could quote: The New York Times and this newspaper. I have been saddened, and yet encouraged, by the recent changes in staff at the Times and the dishonest reporting that prompted the high-level resignations. I am encouraged by the paper's desire to enhance and secure its reliability.

Twenty years ago was the first time I became intimately aware of the pressures on a reporter to make some dry information more readable. A friend who was a reporter had written his story as if he were interviewing a person relaying the information. This had not been the case. He was called to the highest level of authority of that newspaper and reprimanded. At that time I saw clearly that "just the facts" is not enough for honest reporting. The way those facts are presented relate integrally to the honesty of the story.

Today, in this age of spin, it's not always easy for readers, as well as news sources, to get an honest assessment of current events. Yet an honest press is as essential as a free press for maintaining a just society.

Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper and established its standards, noted: "Honesty is spiritual power. Dishonesty is human weakness, which forfeits divine help." This statement appears on page 453 of her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which has provided moral guidance for over 125 years.

Of course, it is not only the media that are wrestling with questions of honesty. Actually, today's news media have the superhuman task of sorting out the truth in the reams of information given them. A dedication to honest reporting can often provide the intuition that uncovers the truth.

As the relaying of news becomes more and more like entertainment, the lines between fact and fiction are blurred. The pressure for profits, more dominant than in the past, has invaded many newsrooms. There is no doubt that our truth purveyors face challenges unknown in earlier times.

What makes us seek and value honesty? Why not settle for something less? The pursuit of honesty is related to the time- honored pursuit of truth itself. …

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