For the past several days we have been bombarded with news and outrage over the Ray Rice video, which TMZ decided to release in its entirety just hours before the kickoff of Monday Night Football. Coincidence? I think not but that’s another story altogether.
Every news show has gone to great lengths to criticize any and everybody for their so-called role in the Ray Rice incident. First we have Ray himself who immediately became the the poster boy for what a domestic violence abuser looks and behaves like. Then we have Janay Palmer Rice, the poster girl for what a domestic violence victim supposedly looks like. She has been chastised for standing by her man, whom she turned around and married a month after the incident. She’s also been labeled a gold-digger at the same time. Oh and let’s not forget Ray’s mother, who has had the finger pointed at her for not teaching her son better moral values.
Then we have the NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and the Baltimore Ravens organization, who have been severely criticized over their handling of the incident. Although Rice allegedly told Goodell he punched his fiancee, the media has jumped all over the NFL Commissioner saying he should have seen the video and how dare he not see the video and now that the video has been released, heads need to roll.
As a veteran journalist, I am starting to see something more often than not when it comes to my colleagues. Some of them have become more REACTIONARY instead of doing the jobs they are paid to do—and that it to “investigate” and “dig” for the hard cold facts instead of waiting for someone else to do their jobs for them and then try to take the lead.
Instead, the media has allowed TMZ, a program that describes itself as gossip and entertainment news, covering celebrity news and Hollywood rumors to dictate the lead on this story.
The media has come down hard on Goodell and the Ravens for either not seeing the video or seeing it and lying about it. Journalists everywhere are pointing the fingers at everyone but themselves. What has happened to the Bob Woodwards’ and Carl Bernsteins’ of the world? For those of you who may not know or may have forgotten, Woodward and Bernstein were reporters for The Washington Post in 1972, when they used their investigative skills to uncover the Watergate scandal. This scandal led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. They didn’t wait for the story to be handed to them. They went out and dug it up. They didn’t point fingers AFTER the fact.
Should this video have come to light? Absolutely! But the media has a responsibility to its viewers to dig beyond the surface and uncover the “news” accurately and fairly. Going into attack mode like a pit bull serves no purpose, other than ratings.
It would appear that true investigative journalism is quickly becoming a “skill” of the past. No longer can we rely on journalists like Paul Harvey, who always gave us “the rest of the story.”