The current media frenzy surrounding the saga of President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky is extremely disappointing. After the O.J. Simpson escapade, the media took a look at itself and pledged to re-find ethics and integrity. After the death of Princess Diana, the media proclaimed the necessity of returning to pre-tabloid times. Yet again and again, these promises were swept aside as soon as the next big scoop developed.
This forgetfulness exacts a heavy price: It substantiates the idea of a sensationalist media focusing on non-issues. Media credibility is lessened for the umpteenth time.
When the media becomes part of the story, it has far exceeded its role as observer and conveyor of information. Truly, a 24-hour news cycle pushes reporters to act fast – and the search for news is extraordinarily competitive.
Jumping the gun and reporting every uncorroborated rumor as truth may beckon the scoop of a lifetime, or just turn out another shoddy, poorly-sourced story. Soon, few people will be left who believe what they read, see and hear as actual and factual news.