Yesterday morning the Des Moines Register ran a story by reporter Jennifer Jacobs discussing a disturbing bill introduced in the Iowa House. Last evening I authored a post in which I described why I am vehemently opposed to the measure, if you would like to read about you can do so here. Today I want to point to an aspect of the article that I believe really does the field of journalism a severe disservice.
In her article about the legislation Ms. Jacobs insinuated that House Republicans were supporting and advocating the measure. In the title and within the article she uses the plural form of the title Republican, indicating that it is being advanced by more than one Republican. That, however, is not the case. It took me just a few minutes of searching on the Iowa General Assembly website to determine that her assertions are not based in fact. The fact of the matter is that just one Representative, Ron Jorgensen, has indicated any support for the measure. Contrary to the writings of Ms. Jacobs House File 170 is not a bill being advanced by Iowa House Republicans.
I would love to give Ms. Jacobs the benefit of the doubt. I do not want to believe that a reporter with a major Iowa news outlet would use their position to advance their own political ideology in spite of the truth. I would like nothing more than to say that this was an honest mistake, however the facts just don’t support that theory.
I would also like to believe that this was simply a case of sloppy journalism. That Ms. Jacobs had failed to conduct the research necessary to ensure that her article was factually true. However, I find it hard to believe that the Des Moines Register would willingly employee journalists that regularly fail to conduct the research necessary to provide truthful information to the public. I may be wrong about this, but I do believe that the Register does try to provide it’s readership with the most factual information available to them. They may not always give all the information necessary, but I don’t think that they would intentionally lie to the public.
This leaves us with the conclusion that the misinformation included in Ms. Jacobs article was deliberate and intentional. I hate to say it, but it appears that Ms. Jacobs, through the lens of her own political ideology distorted the facts of this story. Instead of publishing an article that was relevant and factual she published a post informed by her own opinion and populated with misinformation.
As I mentioned above, stories like this really do a disservice to the journalistic industry as a whole. It is stories such as this that cause the public to lose trust in many news outlets. As long as reporters advance their own ideology at the exclusion of the truth our nations newspapers will continue to decline.