Errar, de humanos. Rectificar, ¿de periodistas?

By: Antonio López Sánchez

The most repeated joke in our profession states that doctors bury their mistakes; lawyers lock them up and journalists publish them. Only those who review a page for hours, to the right and vice versa, and then discover in the already irreversible printed version (at least digital ones, today they are right) a capital errata, knows the heartbreak and discomfort that this causes. Of course, a typo, in addition to adding jokes and anecdotes (some unpublishable afterwards), usually has no major consequences. The worst thing is when misguided jobs, misguided approaches, or distant texts or images of common sense are transmitted or that contradict some harsh reality.

As a journalist, as part of our profession, it must be foreseen that a failure or a crooked criterion can escape and come to the public. Errare humanum est, also applies, of course, to the profession of communicating for all. I remember, when I was working in a national magazine, having to go to a small provincial town to repair the damage a colleague inadvertently caused. In the small villorrio, without water for months, worked tirelessly on an aqueduct. The editor wrote that the works were already a reality and that the village was happily swimming in water abundance. There is almost a rebellion among the angry and thirsty neighbors as they read the text. However, the press body acknowledged the error, rectified and published the reality. The locals thanked him and the authorities supported us to repay the slip, only attributable to our publication.

Such topics are complicated when the work, especially on the official national pages, discloses tremebunted dissatincy and then does not know one that there is any consequence or rectification. Generally, while it can happen on a variety of issues, it is largely mistakes and dislates that defend in a cloak and sword some achievement of the Cuban political system or that attack imperialism. Wrong in favor, no matter how absurd the screw-up is, it doesn’t matter. I am not saying that the author in question is publicly impaled, even if some deserve it, because of the ridiculous, archaic and even absurdity of certain defenses. In fact, it is not the journalist, but the body to which he responds, that must assume the mistakes and remedy them. Out of mere respect for the recipients, some rectification is indispensable. Now, when the country’s most important rotatives are silent in response to barrages of criticism, not those of the enemy (who will always be, done right or wrong), but those of specialists, other journalists, various voices authorized in their subjects or the people in general (for whom they are worked), the trust and credibility of such means are rather misused.

It is stated as true news that there is a famine in the United States, where, of course, there is also poverty, but it is not even close to the fed-up of the well-known images in third-world countries with humanitarian crises. It is attempted to present as a social achievement of the Cuban Revolution that femenicides in Cuba are inferior to those of other countries (in a work that, in addition to a pessy disrecognise of gender theories, shows how a well-tortured statistic says and supports what one desires), from the reductionist, reactionary and callous idea that a dead woman is a number and , if we have fewer deaths, we’re better. Still many materials from the written press, radio and television, rejoice in productive achievements and dissimilar abundances, when prices, deficiencies and queues on the street show the opposite. Not counting, especially in television, a shower of subsusive criteria, insignificant news values or disproportionate triumphalisms and even editorials with flagrant language and content stumbles. It makes you want, in the face of such praise, to recall the well-known sentence: “don’t defend me, compadre”.

All these facts exhibit a lack of preparedness, I welcome the easy idea that defending ourselves and fighting the enemy is the only reason to be of each note (if we speak ill of the bad, however clumsy the reason and however alien the subject, no problem) plus a worrying lack of professionalism. On top of that, they make the recipients no longer mistrust, but change the source of information by feeling manipulated, deceived or treated as children without self-judgment.

A journalist, famous or not, once he publishes a work is an opinion leader, because in addition to informing he is supposed to have the qualities and knowledge necessary to analyze a problem and transmit it to his fellow citizens. Any fool on the nets has the means to publish any absurdity. A journalist has an obligation to be rigorous, to contrast sources, to adhere as much as possible to the truth, that ethics and seriousness serve as a shield for him. If you’re wrong, a concealer, editor-in-chief, and director, from another view, are supposed to correct or stop the publication of a bar. If a waste weed is still disclosed, and that is known immediately, it must assume the medium and face its readers.

A doctor won’t dig up his faults. A lawyer can take years and efforts to release yours. Journalists and, above all, the media, can always publish a better version tomorrow, without errors. Ω

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