Speed and Truth... Principles of the Past

This morning I watched an old  1940 movie on the TCM network entitled “A Dispatch From Reuter’s,” the story of Paul Julius Reuter and how he established his world wide news service in the mid-1800’s. The prologue to the movie stated there were two principles he deeply believed in and demanded adherence to….. Speed and Truth.  It went on to say that media outlets who bought his reports also respected those same principles.

That last statement started me thinking about the media of today. Undoubtedly, one half of those principles… Speed… has continued to be important to the media. It has advanced to the point that news reports are almost instantaneous and the struggle to be first to report the news remains as fierce as it was in Reuter’s time.

However, the second half of his principles…. Truth… seems to be of less importance to the media today, which is confusing since the end users of their product, the people, want and demand the truth. I don’t know about everyone else, but I have a difficult time believing that much of the news I hear or read today has not been slanted, manipulated or had something omitted.

Knowing how much he valued the truth, I think Julius Reuter would be very disappointed to see that the news business, which he played a large part in creating, has become an information source which can’t be trusted to tell the truth, no matter how fast we get it.