That’s a rough translation of an old French saying. Nowhere does it sound more up to date than when we consider the way things are reported.
In the time of Moses, it was the ten spies who gave the truth an untoward slant. In our day, it is the media. Not just in connection with the Middle East, but on everything. Whatever the media are covering, if it is a subject on which any of us is an expert, we see how wrong the reports are.
Result? Everything seems to be misrepresented. We feel we can’t trust the media about anything.
Is editorial bias the reason, or commercial interest… or both together?
The answer may be yes, and in that case there ought to be a journalistic principle that the news must be as close to the truth as possible. Not simply because otherwise they may lose readers, viewers or listeners, but because they have an ethical duty.
If the problem is that media personnel generally work at such a pace that they haven’t the time and leisure to check every fact and examine every nuance, there is something wrong with media procedures.
No-one is expected to be an expert on everything, but in the same way in which there are staff proof-readers who check for technical accuracy in spelling, grammar and linguistic usage, so there should be staff researchers who have reliable resources at their fingertips.