Why 'Personalities' Must Take a Back Seat to Real Journalism

Where in the world is Matt Lauer?

Back in the day, it was a catchy tune that NBC hoped would be embraced by legions of adoring fans.

Now it’s an ode to a career that was.

Maybe Lauer can just bury his head in the mountains of cash NBC made the mistake of paying him for going on air over the years when the firm built him up as its rising star. Believe me, I know numerous honest newspeople who would eagerly take his place and deserve it. How much did NBC pay Lauer?

One report claimed he is asking for $30 million from NBC to buy out his contract. All this would prove is the guy has no shame.

This I don’t doubt, no matter what his ex-wife tells Inside Edition about his being a good man. Matt Lauer's worth

Please NBC, please don’t pay him another cent. To do so would be to spit in the face of everyone who watched NBC loyally.

Meanwhile, though, Lauer must make immediate plans to live less like a prince and more like a pauper (unfortunately, not really given the accumulation of years of mega-salaries). Maybe there will be a support group he can join for disgraced broadcasters who showed they could care less about the people they were supposed to cover.

As director of a master’s degree program in digital journalism, I blame Lauer and Charlie Rose and before them, Bill O’ Reilly for being as bad as the corrupt politicians and sex addicts they cover, including disgraced slime ball Harvey Weinstein.

The networks need to stop treating these high-profile anchors as “stars” and start holding them responsible for an ethical code. Clearly all the money they paid Lauer went straight to his head. Didn’t anybody at the top notice? And we all know this is not an isolated incident. The list of disgraced broadcast journalists is growing as long as Pinocchio’s nose.

Or maybe there should be a cap on the salaries these “journalists” may accept. The big salaries seem to cause them to forget that journalists are supposed to serve the public, not themselves and do so without fear or favor.

The focus of the networks must be on ethics for broadcast journalists. They owe it to every viewer and listener and lest I be accused of being the last remaining print snob, I will say that all online and newspaper journalists need to reaffirm their commitment to ethics as well because of how important they are. They are particularly important in this Internet age when the speed of the news cycle can cause nosebleeds.

The focus of the networks must be on ethics for all journalists. They owe it to every viewer and listener and lest I be accused of being ridiculous because of those who say ratings became king many years ago, I will say that all online journalists need to reaffirm their commitment to ethics as well because of how important ethics are. Be accurate. Get multiple sources. Accept no gifts of value. News media already have rules

This is especially important if our children are expected to have hope in the capacity for honesty and truth. Without a free press, how different will we be from North Korea or Russia. It is our choice what sort of nation we create. We need to lend our support to a movement for ethics and standards in the news media because recent events are something akin to a national emergency. It must be a good morning again

This campaign must extend o social media since so many people are getting their news this way. The experiment designed to stamp out fake news at facebook apparently did not work perfectly, but that does not mean the organization should abandon its efforts. Democracy may depend on them. Not worthless to try

So where in the world is Matt Lauer?

Maybe finished as a journalist – if we are lucky.

The focus of the networks must be on ethics for all news professionals they hire.

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