This Sunday’s episode of 60 Minutes was a brilliant case study in the media’s ability to manipulate the public mind. The entire hour is worth studying, if only as one of the most illuminating and sophisticated examples of media manipulation in recent memory.
Who, What, When, Where …
The most important editorial decision may not be how to cover a story, but which stories will be covered at all. But once a story is assigned, however that happens, the journalist’s responsibility is to inform readers – or the audience – of its meaning and context.
60 Minutes failed both tests.
The old journalistic maximum said a good journalist had to answer five questions in every story: Who, what, when, where, and why? Of those, “why” is the most important questions of all. Without it, stories are more likely to misinform than inform.
In this case, the misinformation seems deliberate. The intended message seems to begovernment can’t help us. We must militarize or cities and depend on the generosity of billionaires, or we don’t stand a chance.
… and Why