If you aren’t a little bit skeptical about any news story you hear nowadays, you should be.
Every ‘Breaking news’ story should be taken with a grain of salt when reading, listening or watching the news today.
News sources such as TV networks, radio stations, newsmagazines and newspapers have a common goal. Without successful progression toward that goal, each of these news sources is on the road to their demise. They are mortal and their goal, their lifeblood is $$$.
Survival by profit only
Every news source survives only with a steady stream of revenue attained by selling advertising, selling subscriptions or selling their product. The flipside of this revenue/sales coin is attraction/credibility.
Attraction above all else
Sensationalize the news and more people will be attracted to you as a news source. Make it bombastic! Make it explosive! Sensationalize it! Make it sexy! These are the strategies used by new sources to gain more following. Tantalize the audience with gossip, sexy headlines, dirt slinging, outlandish claims and most people will turn toward your source rather than away from it…we love a great piece of gossip; we snooze with facts about the economy. Lies attract; truth bores. The result is news which has no reliance on content, instead complete reliance on attracting patrons. Truth be damned, facts are boring…give us the sizzle, give us the pizzazz, give us the razmataz and we will keep coming back for more.
Credibility is roadkill
Credibility no longer is a sacred cow. It’s roadkill. Truth be damned. Truth bores people. Truth kills audiences. Forget the truth or die in its retention.
News sources less dedicated to principles of good journalism, vetted facts, confirmed facts checking as they once were. Now there is a luge speeding rush to get it out there, and forget about veracity and verification. We gotta grab them first, with whatever shot gun blasts we can use. Never mind the collateral damage. Never mind professional reputations. Never mind careers, jobs or positions. Blow em away and show the news readers whose got real cajones. Give em the BS cuz they’ll come back for more. And getting ’em back is what it’s all about.
Old time news, new times dodo
Many younger readers will not know what a dodo is…google it kiddo. Well, old-time news reporting and news reporters have gone the way of the dodo. Millenials have never heard of Gordon Sinclair, Betty Kenney, Jocko Thomas, or even Walter Cronkite, David Brinkley and Chet Huntley. Peter Mansbridge likely wasn’t even well known among younger people even when he was doing the nightly news. Worse, they don’t even care who these old-time reporters are; the corollary being they also don’t care about the accuracy, veracity or the objectivity of the news reporters.
Immediacy trumps veracity today, alacrity trumps accuracy, titillation beats factuality, entertain us, don’t bother to inform us.
Hell and a handbasket
We’re headed to hell in a handbasket. The end game? Death to democracy, principles of integrity, ethical values, high moral standards, professionalism. If it doesn’t entertain, it doesn’t fly. Truth be damned…let’s eat cake…google it you younger people. It’s historical fact, trashy stuff, old stuff.
Old guard, man the ramparts
Those who still adhere to the old values and principles, we need you to man the ramparts. Even the Toronto Star, an ancient 125 year old, reinvents itself and reestablish its adherence to truth, factual reporting and objectivity. It delineates opinion pieces from factual reporting. Truth and accuracy still the order of the day.
If you’re a member of the ‘old guard’ or want to be one, or simply want to know that what you hear is valid, accurate, factual, then you should review your sources of news. Recently, I found a news categorization done by a young lawyer dedicated to the matters as proposed here. She has categorized the news into sources that are credible vs not credible, liberal vs conservative, left wing vs right wing and she has summarized it all into a very useful chart format. She has also justified, rationalized and explained how she derived her conclusions and even if weighed with the proverbial salt, she presents a persuasive illustration of news sources to use vs ones which should be avoided or used with extreme wariness.
The link for the chart below is Link to CHART
The creator of the chart is a young lawyer, Vanessa Otero. She explains her thinking and how she came to developing her news sources chart. Read the details at OTERO Details
Otero is the kind of young person who makes us older adults retain the hope that all is not lost. There are lots of young people out there who are dedicated to keeping our world safe, secure and free. We have to appreciate them for who they are and for the work they do.