Thursday December 10, 2015
The line between news and propaganda
The kind offensive race baiting coming out of the United States is the sort of thing that you might hope not to hear anywhere in North America in 2015, and certainly not from our leaders, or on the mainstream news. But when it's said by Donald Trump, who leads opinion polls for the U.S.Republican presidential candidacy, it does become news. And that puts the news media in a bind.
Because we in the media inevitably amplify those comments as we broadcast them again and again, analyze and tweet them. All of this gets shared thousands of times. Reporters, editors and producers put those words, and that message, out there because it's their job to do so.
But in the case of Mr. Trump, some are wondering whether it's time to stop. And whether there's a risk of crossing the line from reporting the news to spreading propaganda.
Reporters and editors are caught in a dilemma when it comes to covering controversial figures like Donald Trump because there is a question about how to cover xenophobic comments as news without giving those same comments a platform where they can be amplified.
- Doug Saunders is an International Affairs Columnist at the Globe and Mail
- Ali Gharib is contributor at The Nation
- Katy Culver is an assistant professor and the Associate Director of the Center for Journalism Ethics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
This segment was produced by The Current's Suzanne Dufresne and Naheed Mustafa.