The News – Really?

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It is interesting how we have “progressed” if you can call it that, in how we are provided the news. There is something to be said for more voices being heard and more viewpoints shared, but the bias and vitriol that is present today seems to fill every page and broadcast.  The news that was brought to us by the major networks and the New York Times, The Washington Post and yes even the Washington Star, now the Times, years gone by, was something we depended on and believed in.

I mean when Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor or Harry Reasoner said something it had to be so.  Or when you read a news column in the New York Times, it had to be true; after all, it was in print right?  Like so many institutions of our day however, they have been corrupted by greed and in the case of the news–advocacy journalism.  Opinion pages have become part of the first page and “news stories” are laced with opinion.  Truth and objectivity are the victims of today’s news.  Now as we attempt to learn what is happening in our community at the local, national and/or global level, we are presented with the news by the print and electronic media with analysis mixed in with the “facts” and deliberate attempts to shape our opinion and view of the world as they see, feel, and believe it.  The idea that we can be presented with the facts, draw our own conclusions and form our own opinions about a matter is simply scoffed at.  The public apparently does not have the ability to make those decisions; they must be made for us.

It would appear that today if we are to try to learn what is happening in the world we must run a gauntlet of internet newsrooms, blogs, cable networks and a print media that also has become nothing more than analysis and opinion rather than a source of unbiased information on the important events of the day.  It too has joined the talking heads, pundits, loud voices, and even comedy shows in providing us nothing more than biased viewpoints, and dare I say it, propaganda.  Sometimes I wish for the “good ole days”, but I am sadly reminded, almost on a daily basis, that they were not really so good and things were not as they appeared to be even then.  It is no wonder so many are so cynical of just about everything today. The truth is out there somewhere, but finding it has become even more difficult.

4 Comments

  1. I consider news shows “entertainment.” They’re not designed to inform, but are designed to create emotional responses, usually fear and anger. Even the weather is reported in ways to frighten us. I often wonder if meteorologists have a list of words they are required to use. We don’t just get storms, we are “slammed” by them. Somebody out there is trying to keep us afraid all the time. (Maybe so they can then sell us the solution, the thing that will make us feel safe again.)

    It also amazes me that much of what passes for news are press releases, and even advertising. I mean, is it really news when McDonald’s adds something to the menu, or Starbucks introduces a new coffee? I don’t even bother with it anymore. Who has that kind of time?

    1. So true! The bottom line is viewership. If we’re frightened we keep watching. If we’re shocked, terrorized, inflamed, we keep reading. The ethical code that journalists used to live by no longer holds sway. Perhaps, it has been fueled by the shift from print to internet. Print is hanging on for dear life and the competition of the internet is deadly, so the producers of the news are in panic mode. My solution? Shut it off!

  2. Thanks Eric – opinions appear to be the new facts – in which everyone tries to force the truth as perceived by them on others.

    The real work is coming to see things with one’s own eyes – and increasingly, this is a solitary position to take.

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