Commentary by MTSU Professor of Journalism Larry Burriss: The Nobel Peace Prize, journalist working under turmoil that included the murder of other reporters – and then a look at non-governmental entities trying to manipulate public opinion. With a look at journalism and the involvement of media control in certain areas of life, here is MTSU Journalism Professor Larry Burriss…
Scroll down to learn more about Dr. Burriss and to read the above commentary soundbite found on WGNSradio.com.
VERBATIM of Above Audio: "Back in December the Nobel Prize Committee, for the first time in more than 80 years, awarded the Peace Prize to two journalists, one from the Philippines and one from Russia.
The committee said a free press is essential to “democracy and lasting peace,” and noted both journalists are working under threatening and intimidating conditions, often involving jail time and murder of reporters.
But the committee failed to take any notice of efforts by non-government entities to control the media and manipulate public opinion.
Take, for example, last week’s suspension by Twitter of the personal account of Georgia Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene because of her comments about the Corona virus, vaccines and masks.
Or one could cite similar actions by other social media providers to block comments about the last presidential election or the capital riot last year.
Actually, it seems to me, any media platform ought to encourage unpopular facts, distortions and misinformation. Such a program would, in fact, help eliminate fake news, fabrication, or simple misunderstandings.
Let’s take a silly example to see how this works: You decide to block anyone who claims Bigfoot is real.
Well, let them have their say, but then your side makes an offer asking them to explain their evidence. Then, when they reply with their evidence, introduce your evidence, with backup, to show how they are wrong.
If the ensuing debate can remain civil, which I actually doubt will happen, then you will see an honest discussion, with give-and-take, with evidence, rather than just empty rhetoric, bombast and name calling.
Now, imagine what would happen if we used the same technique for discussions about vaccines and mortality rates, elections and vote counts, carbon levels and ice temperatures.
Both sides would have to present their evidence, with supporting documentation, and both sides would have the opportunity to refute what the other side is saying.
Back in the dark ages, just as the Internet was being developed, we were told this electronic marvel would promote global debate, comprehensive education and the triumph of truth. Allowing all sides to have their say will help achieve that worthy goal. - I’m Larry Burriss"
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About Dr. Burriss
Larry Burriss, professor of journalism, teaches introductory and media law courses. At the graduate level he teaches quantitative research methods and media law. He holds degrees from The Ohio State University (B.A. in broadcast journalism, M.A. in journalism), the University of Oklahoma (M.A. in human relations), Ohio University (Ph.D. in journalism) and Concord Law School (J.D.). He has worked in print and broadcast news and public relations, and has published extensively in both academic and popular publications. He has won first place in the Tennessee Associated Press Radio Contest nine times. Dr. Burriss' publications and presentations include studies of presidential press conferences, NASA photography, radio news, legal issues related to adolescent use of social networking sites, legal research, and Middle Earth.
Dr. Burriss has served as director of the School of Journalism, dean of the College of Mass Communication and president of the MTSU Faculty Senate. He was appointed by Gov. Phil Bredesen to serve on the Tennessee Board of Regents. He was a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and served on active duty in Mali, Somalia, Bosnia, Central America, Europe and the Pentagon.