Being a journalist should stand for seeking the truth, especially hidden truths, and bringing it out in the open for public awareness. But when journalists get involved in staged events like the toppling of the Saddam Hussein statue in Iraq, they no longer stand for that truth. At least, not during that particular incident. It’s understandable, in a way. There are countless pressures involved in an international incident like that: editors want what the public want to see; the excitement of rioters, protestors, or the public in the area can get so contagious that a journalist, who is human, after all, can get caught up in the moment too; etc., etc. Somewhere along the line, sometimes the search for truth can get lost, or at least detoured.
Still, we need to remember that when we skew the facts, tell partial truths, or avoid telling the whole truth in any way, we are putting the integrity of the story at risk and our own morality as well. But if you’re going to be a journalist, nothing should be more important than the truth. Not ratings, not a paycheck, nothing. Those things have their own importance in their own place. Of course we have to keep the news interesting so people keep watching, but we need to remember that we’re not supposed to be showing fiction. We are supposed to show the truth. When people watch the news, they expect the truth and they expect it to be interesting. It’s not always easy to get the truth and make it interesting to others too, but it has to be done.