Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Successful Edit

Over the weekend, President George Bush was interviewed by NBC News. A part of his interview included comments he had made while in Israel. Many in the US interpreted his comments as a direct reaction/insult to Barack Obama's comments about meeting with the president of Iran.

Interestingly, when NBC News ran the interview on Sunday and Monday nights, the editors chose to delete parts of the President's comments. The White House called NBC News and complained about the edits. The White House asked for the network to replay the interview, as it took place. NBC News refused to do so, telling the audience that if they wanted to see the entire interview, they should go to their network's Web site and see it there. Seems like a strange request to me--news can't be played on a network, but on a Web site only?

For the last 6 1/2 years, I have been an editor. For the first 20 years of my career, I served as a pastor. Then, a change in careers came and I became an editor for a non-profit Christian publishing company.

Editing is an interesting business. I've learned that words can certainly be twisted from the original intent of the author. Words can be changed, sentences can be rearranged, an emphasis can be placed on certain phrases--giving a meaning the author never intended.

So, what's an editor to do? Well, I can only speak for myself. I don't know (I have some opinions on why NBC News did what they did) why certain editors twist words, sentences, and phrases. I personally don't think that is the right thing to do. To me, it becomes a matter of integrity--the integrity of the editor and the news staff.

But, in truth, isn't so much of life about integrity?

A politician's votes often come down to whether or not his/her integrity prohibits him/her from accepting payoffs from lobbyists. A doctor determines what procedures he/she will perform based on his/her integrity and value system. A minister avoids certain situations that could hurt his intergity and witness in the church and community.

My mother often said to me, "Tell the truth and you'll never have to worry about what lie to tell next." Good advice, don't you think? Tell the truth. Live by that truth. Hold firm to the truth.

Jesus said, "You will know the truth and the truth will set you free." Again, good advice.

I would challenge all of us wordsmiths to know the truth, tell the truth, and to live free. By living in the truth, you never have to spend your time looking over your shoulder to see who is watching or coming after you!

News media, stop twisting the words to fit your own agenda! As voters, we are smart enough to decide for ourselves what the truth is--we don't need you editing the truth to fit your view of truth.

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.