Media Code of Ethics
Journalists can be honest, fair and courageous in reporting and interpreting information but only when it is profitable, in which case it usually isn't. In all other cases, just tell people what they want to hear.
* Test the accuracy of information by fastening the information to a rock and throwing it in the nearest lake. If it sinks, it is ok to print.
* Make shit up. Deliberate distortion of the news is really funny.
* Identify anonymous sources if what they did was really embarrassing or if beastiality was involved. Public figures should always be identified since that is a great way to blackmail them for cash.
* Understand that sources give their quotes with the full knowledge that it will be printed or broadcast which automatically makes whatever they have to say irrelevant. Just get them to say the most ridiculous thing they can think of and fix it up later with some creative editing.
* Understand that misleading re-enactments or staged news events are ok mostly because the public is too stupid to know the difference. And if a re-enactment is necessary, throw a ragdoll dummy off a roof at some point, that shit is always good for a cheap laugh, especially if broadcast in slow-motion.
* Seek out and publish only one side to an argument and then, later, seek out the other after they are good and pissed off. You get better quotes that way.
* Jump to conclusions. Truth and accuracy matter little because making the deadline is way more important
* Plagiarize. Chances are, whatever it is, someone else has written it better then you can so why kid yourself? Change a few key words and hope nobody does any checking.
* Only support the open exchange of views if you can be sure that no freaks or weirdos are present to fuck things up.
* Doctor pictures and video. Sometimes news photos aren't "exciting" enough and they need to be played with for dramatic effect. Photoshop was invented for a reason folks.
* Stereotype. It is really the easiest way to represent people. For example, since there are no Jews in Arkansas a picture of Woody Allen is a great way to represent any Jew in an Arkansas publications. Like they can tell the difference.
* Trap people and lie for a good story. Stories from undercover journalists are a great way to catch people with their pants down, literally. Because the media itself is the only thing standing in the way of millions of sick pedophiles out there.
* Pay little attention if any headlines, news teases, promotional materials, photos, videos, sound bites, graphics, and quotations misrepresent their source. People take stuff out of context anyway so why bother being right as long as it looks good.
* Ignore diversity. The cultures of other people are weird and difficult to understand and people cannot view them without some degree of condescension and awe. Therefore, explaining these cultures is really a waste of time, time better spent laughing at stuff like praying towards Mecca or arranged marriages. Remember that people view diversity as a necessary evil. The world would work so much better if everyone thought and acted alike.
* Understand that it is ok to print insulting political cartoons and the like as long as the subject of ridicule has little chance of seeing the offending material.
* Insert themselves in their stories. Would you rather hear a story from someone who was there and a participant or someone that heard about the story and told you from someone else's point of view? Just make sure you're loaded on LSD when you cover an event because things like political debates are so much better that way.
* Overanalyze everything. If praying mantises are dying by the thousands, surely there are twenty "experts" out there we can interview about it. And, if not, then a local science teacher would be a good stand-in.
* Remember that whatever we say is the "official record." Whenever we report one thing and ignore another, we are advocating the thing we report. Since we cannot report on everything we should only choose stuff that we like. Someone else will surely report about the other stuff.
* Cause panic. Nothing gets the people of the world to stop what they are doing and glue themselves to the TV set like a good old fashioned media panic. So what if the Swine Flu has only killed a handful of people and is milder than the regular flu, which kills thousands each year? Forget that part and keep repeating that there is no cure and that the virus can mutate at any time and wipe out civilization as we know it. That is the stuff that sells ads.
On Maximizing Profit
Journalism is really a business. We like to think this is to keep us independent of governments and outside interests but really this is the only way the owners of the media can make any money. Remember, pledge drives are for pussies.
* Hire only the least qualified individuals for any open position. Bonus points if they are a minority or a woman, we don't want to lose readers by pissing these people off.
* Increase space for advertising at the expense of content. Never pass up an opportunity to peddle some shit to someone.
* Not release any stories that will piss off our advertisers.
* Watch movies, take vacations, read books and play video games all for free. Journalists can do this by saying they are a "reviewer" when in actuality our opinions only carry weight because thousands of people will see them.
* Mislead the public. Advertising is so prevalent in our society that people actually expect to see it everywhere. This makes it ok to blur the lines between news and advertising. Besides, if newspapers cost 75 cents each, and the nightly news is free to anyone who owns a TV, how the fuck are we going to make money?
* Jam advertising down people's throats. We're in the advertising business, not the news business.
* Get a sponsor for everything. Anything can be sold, stadium naming rights, titles on opinions pages, the fucking superimposed first down marker on Monday night football. Never pass up an opprotunity to sell ad space. They may not know it, but people like it.
* "Mistakenly" air the same commercial three times during the same commercial break. Because people need to understand that ALL is the Stain Lifter, and you can't get anything clean using that Tide shit. And ALL paid us twice as much as Tide did.
On People Exploitation
Journalists must show no interest in respecting people, especially if they are celebrities. The news and the money and prestige involved is way more important than human decency. Remember, if we did not exploit people, we would all be working at Jack in the Box.
* Be annoying. Let's say someone dies in a horrible motorcycle accident. It would be nice if we could show his gory corpse smeared on the highway, a bloody trail left behind as his body was reduced to a human crayon. Rather, the best way to get good video is to shove TV cameras in the faces of the victim's family as they arrive on the scene.
* Play up anything involving violence. Since newscasts can bypass that idiotic V-chip anything involving violence should be given precedence over all other news. This way, we can provide the youth of America with what they really need. Graphic content.
* Make as much money as possible off of celebrities. If Ben Affleck is spotted buying condoms at the local Wal-Mart, the media reaction should include nothing less then "total coverage." Interrupt broadcasts, hire helicopters, interview eyewitnesses. You never know when Ben Affleck will come back.
* Understand pandering. The era of good taste is gone so if a show where people eat slugs for cash is what people want to watch, then that is what they're going to get.
* Know that victims of sex crimes deserve no protection. Dude, they totally wanted it and they know it.
* In case of disaster like flood, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fire, herpes outbreaks, or earthquakes, head to the poorest parts of town. Poor people in distress or floating dead in a canal makes great news.
* Know that the best place to interview an elusive newsmaker is by standing in their front lawn and yelling a lot.
* Understand children are worthless sources, unless they are saying funny stuff. Record them talking about feces or their body parts or mispronouncing words like "berfday." This is good stuff to save for slow news days.
* Treat reluctant sources with care. Once they realize we don't give a damn about their situation and are only after a story that will make us look good, we will never see them again. Unless we give them money.
* Understand that libel laws are vague and libel lawsuits will eventually go away if we ignore the little ones and throw plenty of money at the really bad ones.
* Beat breaking news to death. People who were alive at the time will always remember the OJ Simpson trial or Elian Gonzalez because these events made us experts at making trivial shit seem important. Keep this up. Whenever a white girl goes missing in a foreign country or some celebrity gets embarrassed by some lame scandal put in 100% and don't let up until the next media circus comes along. Remember the glory days of Pulitzer and Hearst? Strive for that.
* Realize gathering and reporting information will cause harm and discomfort, mostly because the people that work in the media are complete assholes and arrogant social outcasts. Yeah, there's no way around this, sorry.
We Are Spineless Toadies
News Coverage and the media are all predisposed by hundreds of outside influences; advertisers, pissed off interest groups, religion, government, your mom. This will never change and the best way to deal with bias is to ignore the fact it exists and move on.
* Understand that sometimes, bias and conflicts of interest are unavoidable. By simply saying this it allows us to continue all biased reporting unabated.
* Understand that with any controversial issue, the media inevitably will be associated with one side or another. Try to choose the side that will win.
* Skew coverage of all politics. Since complete objectivity is impossible to achieve we, the media, can do one of two things about it. Ignore the fact that bias exists, or blow it completely out of proportion and call people who think differently idiots. Always remember, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter actually make money for being pompous assholes.
* Allow advertisers to influence news coverage, especially if they threaten to pull their ads. Conflicts between advertisers should always be resolved by the potential dollar amount of their advertising. Remember: Wal-Mart is always better than Ed's Mattress Emporium.
* Technically hold those in power accountable but we can only do so if it looks like they will be out of power soon. Openly criticizing the government is in violation of The Patriot Act and will piss off a lot of people. Mostly rednecks.
* Understand that if a source offers information for money, then he is greedier then we are and should be offered a job.
* Take comfort in the fact that there will always be idiot attention-whore celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who use us to stroke their already overblown egos. Don't piss them off and be sure to bow to their every wish otherwise it will be our competition that will benefit.
We Have A Job To Do?
Journalists know that readers, listeners and viewers exist and that in turn makes us rock stars. Hell yeah motherfuckers! People are reading our shit! Keep in mind though that the majority of our readers are idiots and should be treated as such. Responsibility? Psssh! There are ways around that.
* Understand that complicated things are best left to "serious" news networks like C-SPAN and NPR. Serious stuff is boring anyway.
* Keep an ethics expert, called an Ombudsman on retainer. Of course, this job is of little significance and has no responsibility other than to provide the appearance of respectability and accountability of news reporting. Retiring janitors make great ombudsmen.
* Memorize the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is the only thing that routinely saves our asses from unemployment or lengthy jail time.
* Encourage the public to voice grievances against competing media outlets. Stifle any disasterous criticism.
* Expose the unethical practices of competing news media networks in an effort to steal their advertising revenue.
* Admit mistakes only if found. And then only print or broadcast corrections when and where nobody will see them.
* Understand that journalism is the first draft of history. To us, this means we can be as careless and alarmist as we want with the news just to make more money. People will come later and fix what we screw up.
* Know we are the voice of the people! If there is any doubt as to what is important, remember that the people would rather talk about Lost or the Super Bowl then wars or famine or genocide. Those types of things only happen in other countries anyway.
* Hold dear the truth that most people are retards. Remember, we the media have spent decades cultivating a society that cares more about the results of American Idol then actual worldly problems. Gloss over hard news because nobody really cares and get to the good stuff, like what Eva Longoria wore to the Emmy's or the score of the Dallas Cowboys / Washington Redskins game.
* Remember that we are not doctors, or lawyers or accountants. If we fuck up, chances are nobody will die or be financially ruined. We're pretty much wannabes and scumsucking, parasitic bootlickers, making our way in life off the pain, suffering and success of others. Our jobs can easily be eliminated and nobody will know the difference. This all means we really have no responsibility and therefore no obligation to adhere to any high standards or anything like that.