Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Paging journalistic integrity, STAT

I’m just sick of it. Plain tired.

Trucking gets a bad rap. Far, far too often. And it’s largely at the hands of my so-called colleagues in the media. These lazy hacks are an insult to any of us with work ethics and downright plain, unadulterated ethics.

This fight over the changes to the 34-hour restart has provided an abundance of write-and-rip copy (that’s journo talk for just slamming out a story without any effort). The trucking critics have preyed on the laziness of the mainstream media with scare tactics and wrong information.

And far too many writers buy all of it. Hook. Line. And sinker.

This is how the article that set me off this morning starts:

For the second time in three years, the trucking industry has found a friend in Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Collins got a rider attached to the spending bill approved over the weekend so truckers will no longer have to get two nights sleep in a row before starting a work week.

For the love of all things exhausting. Please.

This sounds like truck drivers never sleep. Never. They stay up for days on end. Eyeballs on stems.

And this isn’t isolated. Since the 34-hour restart changes were introduced, reporters have been glomming on to the “tired trucker” mantra. I Googled the term and there were 35 news stories from just this week. I assure you that term did not turn up any results from Land Line.

These reporters need to turn off the cliché trucker movies and put down the press releases and actually pick up the freaking phone and ask some questions. I don’t know, actually, ask someone who knows?

Journalism 101 tells you one thing. If it’s coming to you in the form of a press release, there is a reason it was sent. The reasons aren’t always nefarious. But, there is a reason that it was sent. You better know good and well what that agenda is before you dare waste the ink to put it out to those who should trust that your reporter BS filter is fully engaged.

Writers (I can’t even bring myself to call them journalists), before you sit down at your keyboard again, I suggest you take a long hard look in the mirror and remember what drew you to this profession. If it wasn’t to seek the truth and to make things better, it’s time you find another career. And, yeah, take trucking off the table of potential jobs. You don’t have the stomach for that. It’s actual, hard work.

Laziness in the journalism profession is rampant, and I for one am sorry for the damage that’s its doing to you, my readers.