I throw socks at my television. When I disapprove of something, when most people would just change the channel, I start hurling socks. It isn’t exactly the most productive use of my time, or my socks for that matter, but it gives me a small sense of satisfaction. Lately, however, it hasn’t been working.
I’m running out of socks, and things are getting too personal. Under any other circumstances, the death of Michael Jackson would have devastated me, but today, I have bigger things to worry about. Sure, I’ll never forget sitting with my eyes glued to the TV as a kid, watching him dance with monsters, but I know real monsters today that put the ones in the “Thriller” video to shame.
While I am hearing horror stories over the phone from Iran, I’m getting nothing but MJ news on my TV screen. Hence the sock holocaust at the foot of the television in my living room.
But back in Iran, it appears that they are getting real news, not from the state-controlled media, but rather, from their satellites. I’ve run into the strangest things in Iran thanks to satellite. It was where I was first introduced to the Backstreet Boys, Metallica and the Kelly Family, for example.
Today, however, Iranians aren’t watching quite as many music videos. Now they’re watching themselves make headlines. The most frustrating part of watching this programming in Iran has to be the fact that everyone is reporting on how impossible it is to get “verifiable” news out of the country, when they are still in constant contact with their friends and family outside of Iran.
I admit that my calls have been cut off on occasion, especially lately and on landlines, but communicating with Iran is far from a challenge. I frequently get through on the first try. Yet, reporters keep complaining about the difficulty getting information out of Iran. It’s almost as if the Iranian government has given journalists an excuse to stop doing their jobs.
It’s the 21st century for God’s sake. Just because you can’t stand on the streets of Tehran or Shiraz, it doesn’t mean you can’t get information about what’s going on there. But then again, there is the issue of “verifiability.” How are we to trust eyewitness video footage if it’s taken on a cell phone? I mean, how can something be real if we can’t see it in HD?
I admit, I’m not a “real” journalist. I didn’t go to journalism school.
I did, however, go to law school, and while they don’t teach journalistic etiquette there, they do teach a thing or two about evidence. Ask any lawyer what the toughest part of evidence is, and she’ll tell you it’s hearsay. The hearsay rule initially seems easy on its face. But then there are the boatload of exceptions: excited utterances, dying declarations, public records and about thirty others, including a catch-all exception that allows for admission of hearsay that is not otherwise included in any of the other exceptions to the hearsay rule.
In other words, if a piece of evidence serves the interests of justice, it’s packaging becomes irrelevant. There are enough YouTube videos of the events in Iran to fill the airwaves for the next year. The least the mainstream media can do is accept a few of them into evidence. If not in the interest of justice, then in the interest of truth.