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How many of you are watching or reading less news than you previously watched/read? I don’t know about you, but I have greatly decreased the amount of news I watch or check on during the day. I stopped all news magazine subscriptions years ago because they all turned into “not news magazines.”
Now before I continue, I need to stress I am not referring to our local newspaper, “The Coosa County News” (CCN). I rely on the CCN for a lot of information. The CCN staff reports, very well, the news and happenings in the county.
The CCN also includes viewpoints from all political sides, includes religious articles, includes community news and insights, and most importantly is honest. It is also obvious when the piece is opinion rather than fact. The CCN even gives space to a buzzard – PETA would be proud! Now, before anyone gets upset, I love animals and I enjoy our buzzard’s pieces. And in full disclosure, this “Food for Thought” column is obviously an opinion piece.
I was one of those persons who, when traveling, kept the radio tuned to a news channel. When home, I watched news in the evenings and listened to the news every morning as I prepared to go to work. I would record certain local and national programs each day so I could watch them whenever I finally arrived home in the evenings.
However, I have lost almost all desire to follow news as closely as I should. I feel guilty because I don’t know all about the issues affecting my world, but rationalize away the guilt by telling myself that the benefit is I am not nauseated and haven’t gotten frustrated at some talking head in a box. Then, I quickly decide the trade-off is worth it.
Now, it isn’t that I don’t care about what is happening in the news and our world, but I feel that instead of getting the “news” I am being given a spiel from a con artist. I don’t trust many of the news channels to bring me the news without putting a political spin on the story in an attempt to persuade me to believe a certain way.
Often, I will see a story and know the commentator (can’t call many of them reporters anymore) is, at a minimum, not telling the full story or avoiding/ignoring relevant facts the public needs to know. My granddaddy would have called that “lying.” But today it is politically incorrect to call a liar a liar; one must call it mistruths or misinformation.
In my opinion, all too often the so-called news people either knowingly and willingly tell mistruths or fail miserably at doing their homework for the subject on which they are supposedly reporting.
This attitude has spilled over and has fashioned the social media platforms we have today. People will jump on Facebook and spew all kinds of vile and irrational messages. Many people will intentionally lie and leave out facts to support the point they want to make.
The sad part is, many people see nothing wrong with that approach. They believe the ends justify the means and all is fair if it gets them what they want or appears to prove their point.
We have evolved into a society where we have and follow more rules of engagement for war than we do for journalism. At least in war we still call it propaganda, but in the media we now call it “hard-hitting news.” What the media needs to realize is that it isn’t “hard hitting” simply because the person delivering the message is belligerent, nasty, loud, and demeaning.
We need to return to the days when the media outlets relayed the facts. Return to the days when the news outlets didn’t make the story, but instead simply reported the story. Return to when the people watching the news did not know, at least not for sure, what the deliverer’s political affiliation was. Return to the days when it was taboo for media personnel to lie to their public and when media personnel were fired for embellishing, making up, or twisting the facts.
I am unsure if we can recover. Deception has become accepted as the normal; especially for national political leaders on ALL sides, for media personnel, and for society as a whole. I believe the only way a turnaround can be possible is for us to start demanding the truth and expecting what is morally/ethically correct instead of politically correct, turning off the media and Facebook rants when they are spewing lies or vile comments, or calling all of them out when we know they are conning us.
Until next month, stay safe. If you have friend or family member in Coosa County not getting the CCN, try to convince them to do so; they will truly get the news. Finally, maybe the “Food for Thought” column next month will be more positive and upbeat.