Absence of Malice (1981) is about a reporter (Sally Field) getting the story (about Paul Newman’s character) at the expense of the facts. Essentially, it’s about having integrity and sacrificing ambition at the altar. Telling the story as it is what reporters should be doing, rather than doing it for their careers or whatever personal or political motive.
The reporter in Absence of Malice would do anything underhanded to prop up her career. Even if she didn’t have the facts. I can’t believe how relevant this seems today.
With people talking about baseless news reports and fake news, one wonders if they are right. Are reporters just making up things to fulfil an agenda, be that personal or political? If so, they are not acting with integrity, as news reporters must deal with the facts truthfully and honestly, whatever their agendas.
I say this because news these days seems slanted in a direction of an ideological persuasion. For money? I just watch it and often don’t see facts on the salient issues, but an angle.
I no longer watch the news, because I find it depressing, makes me angry, and is one-sided. It’s healthier to avoid it all together and live the real life—peace and tranquillity without the noise of the media. I’m better off without them.
There is no avoiding, though, that everyone has an angle, and this inevitably come out. It comes out in the media, with authors, and with filmmakers and artists. It’s a myth that the media is objective. It’s a myth that we are. We all take sides. We all can be biased. But I want to run from it.
I avoid the media now because I don’t want to be influenced by their subtle persuasion of the so-called facts in the guise of ideology. I want to keep my own mind, not the media’s. I’m acting with integrity when I say goodbye to the media, because I’m keeping within myself. And I am better off.
Integrity is not only people telling the truth but living the truth as well. And that may mean to say goodbye to the naysayers.
A better life is around the corner.