What is the difference between advocacy journalism as it is practiced today and Real Advocacy Journalism® that is described and advanced on this website?
Much of the advocacy journalism practiced today is partisan, biased, and often blurs the lines between truth and lies, facts and fiction, and often presents fake news as real news. The purpose and objectives constitute propaganda to gain public support for the interest and agenda of a few, a special interest group, or a small constituency rather than for the good of the majority.
Advocacy journalism as practiced today, too often, has become a pernicious tool often carried out by partisans, zealots, and extremists, pushing separatist ideologies rather than unity, without any mention or consideration for objectivity or transparency. This is evident in print media with publications focused solely on targeted agendas such as conservative, liberal, the far right, the far left. It is also evident in electronic media with cable stations and programs whose content is designed to present and support only one side of the political spectrum, covering only one type of incidents or stories that occur rather than presenting all sides of the political spectrum, and covering a variety of incidents and stories. There is often little or no effort to present the complete picture. Much of social media, Facebook, Twitter, etc. fall into this category.
These practices have given rise to the idea, notion, even concern about whether there is systemic media bias that pervades contemporary public communication and discourse.
Complex local, regional, national, and global issues are often covered and treated with a biased and simplistic categorization. This happens all too frequently when the public is asked to form an opinion or to support an action. Historically, and currently, this occurs in issue areas such as: should we go to war or support a war; what is the appropriate health care policy for the majority of citizens; how can gun violence be curbed; what are the distinctions between terrorism carried out by a foreign enemy, naturalized citizen or a naturally-born citizen; is climate change a real threat to civilization or a man-made hoax; and, on and on….
A constant barrage of simplistic, distorted, biased, untruthful, non-factual treatments can only be a disservice to a dependent, hopeful, ill-informed, trusting public.
What passes as advocacy journalism today is often characterized by rumors, innuendo, sensationalism, and all kind of drama that is carried out in mainstream media, social media, and most critically in conversations, presentations, public forums—within whatever orbit of influence of the practitioner—all reinforcing false information that leads to further divisiveness, poor policy decisions, detrimental actions, and sometimes apathy with no actions at all when they are critically needed.
Advocacy journalism as practiced today has taken a radical turn from how Real Advocacy Journalism® should be practiced. Imagine how better off society would be if Real Advocacy Journalism® was understood, embraced, and practiced. Our hope is that this website will be an educational tool that will help change the tide.