A Michigan Reader Says Journalists Learn Dishonesty In College
October 09, 2006, 05:00 AM
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From:  Robert Vollmerhausen [e-mail him]

Re: Joe Guzzardi`s Column: Are Dishonest Journalists Inherently Dishonest?

Guzzardi`s article on the (dis-) honesty of journalists reminded me of an experience from my college days.

In 1967-1968, I was a student at Wayne State University in Detroit. In a journalism class, the editor of the Detroit News gave our class a pep talk. His message was that the newspaper practiced what he called "interpretative journalism".  As the editor explained to us: "The public doesn`t want nor can it understand the facts. We must explain to the public what the facts mean."

Although I remained quiet, my thought was that once we start "interpreting" facts it won`t be long before we start "making" them.

Journalists are and have been, to one degree or another, dishonest for years.

They learned it in college.

Vollmerhausen, who served in Vietnam, is retired from what he describes as "a varied career as soldier, teacher, and technician." He graduated from Wayne State University in 1967 and was present for the Detroit riots in 1967.