One of the great things about our society is that we’re free to say pretty much whatever we want. That’s the root of our free press, which is one of the hallmarks of democracy. Freedom of thought is possibly the single greatest achievement of modern democracies.
Unfortunately, it spawns as much stupid and irresponsible speech as it does smart and insightful ideas. We deal with this all the time in our media relations practice. We pitch reporters and bloggers stories all the time. Almost always, they’re handled professionally and intelligently. Even if a reporter pursues an angle that we wouldn’t encourage, we can’t complain as long as they approach it fairly and do their homework.
But sometimes a “reporter” or “commentator” decides the sound of his own voice is much more important than the facts. Outrageous half-truths are written or spoken, which can fuel rumours and create misinformation and mistrust. Sometimes you’ll find this in newspaper columns or letters to the editor where critics and columnists have an axe to grind. More frequently you’ll see it in fringe blogs or hear it on shock-jock talk radio.
At times like these, we have to work harder to overcome those things