Matt Lauer’s Actions Have a Major Impact on the Field of Journalism

Hearing the news about Matt Lauer and his sexual misconduct and harassment of multiple women was shocking for many, especially for the millions of people who have been watching him on the Today show for years. Lauer is just one more high-profile predator that has been publicly shamed for his actions thanks to the brave women who have shared their stories.

Our society has faced many ugly truths since learning about men like Harvey Weinstein and Lauer. Sexual harassment happens to women every day, and until now our culture has diverted attention from these claims. Using words like “over-dramatic” and phrases like “why didn’t you come forward sooner” have discouraged women from coming forward and making these claims, especially when they are about a man with enough power and resources to cover up accusations.

From this it is evident that our society has a tremendous amount of room for growth and improvement. In Lauer’s case, the implications of his actions will have a ripple effect on society, having the potential to even discredit broadcast journalism along the way.

When TV was first welcomed into homes across America, there was a lack of trust in the validity of the information presented on television. People were skeptical of any truthful information that could be delivered through a box plugged into the wall. When voices like Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite came along, things changed. Broadcast journalism became a legitimate source of news. People listened to Cronkite and Murrow because they were charismatic, likable, and promised America transparency and the truth.

When Cronkite delivered the news of President John F. Kennedy’s death to the public, he did so with integrity and honesty that ensured that he was devoted to the viewers. At one point, he was visibly shaken with the news. His transparency was appreciated and it allowed the public to welcome him and other news anchors into their lives.

Since that time, the country has trusted in broadcast news and the people that deliver it. Lauer and other news anchors had, and continue to have, this same responsibility. Lauer’s actions were not only disgraceful for how he treated women, they were also detrimental to journalism as an institution. Lauer was a trusted news source for many, and now the validity of statements from anchors who were not even affiliated with Lauer will be tainted.

 

All journalists should not be distrusted just because of Lauer’s despicable actions. But now that so many figures of authority are being taken down from their pedestals, it is hard to know who to trust. Now is a better time than ever to enter into the field of journalism. We need more trusted voices and less power-hungry predators.

 

Cover photo from people.com 

 

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About The Author

Jill is a Sophomore at Boston University. She is studying journalism and enjoys listening to music, yoga, traveling, and any activity that involves food!