Who owns the rating agencies? Who owns the news? What is their real goal? Which data is based on the truth, since statistics can be changed and moulded into anything?
The absolute truth isn’t in the hands of any journalist or data agency. Choosing what to read and which opinion to follow based on the certainty of their data is an illusion. Changing the parameters of the data can completely change the results, leading to a completely different conclusion.
Is the population ageing? Is the youth unemployed? Is economy picking up? You may simply move the pillar that establishes the limit in between youth and elderly people, or you may leave out some business sector and the work is done: you can build the article the way you want to with the opinion and conclusions you want it to have.
Every positive situation leaves out its leaks and every negative situation hides its strengths. Newspapers that underline the second are daily agenda. On the contrary, the first case is way rarer.
Is everything relative then? It looks like it, but what impact does news have on your mood?
If you write about how the “earthquake in Chile has sent thousands of scared people into the street”, you’re not lying. On the other hand, you’re also not lying if you write how “thousands of people in Chile have left their homes following precise procedures of evacuation”, that the country has been carrying out for years.
When you report news like in the second example you’re not mollifying the harsh reality of an earthquake. The news is not being altered. Information is what it is, but when you use the second way of reporting it, you also give education, knowledge and a positive model for the public to follow.
Often reports become gossip. Every piece of news has to follow a standard fiction plot, where an initial situation has to go through ups and downs before heading towards a solution.
It’s known that playing on human feelings, who naturally follow this path, can lead to a series of articles on the same event. It is like a story in episodes to which the reader gets attached and wants to read through the developments and to get to the end of it.
If the news doesn’t have this plot, it is likely to be moulded to attract attention so that people will talk about it, which can be considered a violation of the ethics rules of reporting for a journalist.
The news you have to write about is already out of its negative peak, but the publisher needs it to be on the front page. You will for sure find a way that will allow you to leave the news in a state of uncertainty until it ceases to be a trending topic.
It is therefore not objective data that makes a difference. It is the mindset of the journalist behind it, who decides what to show to the public and what to make us believe. What do we want to see: a half-full glass or a half-empty one? Can we improve our quality of life through force-fed untruths or healthy constructive journalism?
In between the plurality of all these points of view, it seems impossible to be correctly informed on the world around us, but actually, we can make a choice: better forms of journalisms, that we believe are more effective in improving our world and that makes us feel better. It is known that inevitably news nourishes our thoughts, our feelings and consequently our actions.
Translated by A.J.L. and revised by M.K.