I expect a lot of media folks will howl when I say this but I feel it must be said:
It’s time for those who report the news to be certified like members of other professions.
If human resources officers, accountants, chiropractors and so on have agencies that certify them, why shouldn’t members of the news media?
Don’t tell me it would violate Americans’ First Amendment rights. Any American would still enjoy free speech. But the public would have a way of deciding whom to trust and what news is probably not “fake.”
Of course, you’re asking who will bell the cat? Who would get to say which reporters are trustworthy?
That’s a tough question, of course. But they do it in other countries. At least 30 countries – and several Canadian provinces – have press councils that help to keep the news industry from being hijacked.
This kind of organization deals with complaints of ethical violations in handling the news. (Imagine how such a body would respond to the recent reveltions about Sean Hannity for example.)
I would suggest going even further by awarding tested journalists a professional designation – like certifying a professional accountant or optician. And any reporter who abuses that certification should lose it.
When you receive information from a professionally certified reporter or news anchor, you would know it’s likely to be fact – not fake.
Wouldn’t that be a refreshing change?