Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane, co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments, relating to the topic, are welcome as it turns an article into a discussion, but must be in English and not include profanity or threats.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

for our own good

 first tea rose this spring

Recently, the media has been feeling very put upon by one political party and politician in particular. I read many memes and pieces, by mostly liberals, who feel threatened by this 'assault' on the news. Without journalism, how will we know what is happening? goes the cry. 

I have a cry too-- how will we know anyway given that most of the press today has an agenda. You can tell what it is by headlines and how often stories look like they will be saying one thing when they end up something very different, ending with-- it cannot be proven.

Is this anything new? Well, Mark Twain writings indicate it's not from what he wrote in the 1800s. 

I had come across a rather famous quote by Twain on the press. 
“If you don't read the newspaper, you're uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you're mis-informed.”
Unfortunately, as happens so often, he probably didn't say it or at least it isn't listed among his writings. This happens a lot when something seems more powerful if it is from someone famous. What's a little lie among friends-- right?

There is though something on the press by another famous person that can definitely be attributed to him, and it's even earlier.
"Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The only extend of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day.

"I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false."  Thomas Jefferson in 1807
Someone I like seemed trying to make the case that Yellow Journalism is justified as the people need to be told what to think since they often won't figure it out on their own. I am still trying to wrap my head around that thought since it's alien to anything I myself would believe. This piece is about the beginning of the term and what it can accomplish-- [Yellow Journalism]

What I want from a newspaper is not a dramatic headline but the facts of what happened. The editorial page is where I want someone to tell me what they think it means. The cool thing about editorial pages is I pretty well know what to expect from the opinions because of reading many previous writings. A front page story is supposed to be about what happened-- period, and I rarely look up who wrote it.
"Yellow journalism was a style of newspaper reporting that emphasized sensationalism over facts. During its heyday in the late 19th century it was one of many factors that helped push the United States and Spain into war in Cuba and the Philippines, leading to the acquisition of overseas territory by the United States." [Yellow Journalism]
It was early in 2016 when I got disillusioned with the major newspapers in my country. I would see headlines, read the articles, wait for the headline to be proven and find it often was disproven on the third page. How many people read to the third page? 

 The New York Times admitted after the 2016 election that their coverage had been biased. They quickly though renounced any attempt to change their ways; and since then, most of the major newspapers and most cable news stations have been heavily biased to report all the negative. A Harvard study had CNN at the top of the list with 93% negative stories on the current administration.

Some say well the stories are negative because everything happening is negative but that begs the question. Are they covering any of the things that make this administration look good? How about when another country's leader visits here and says nice things? Does that get the same coverage that the secret source said about the same thing only sounding bad? 

For those who want impeachment - yesterday, this is perfectly okay as are the fake news sources who constantly have someone from the FBI, CIA or State Department relaying, off the record, what is about to happen-- guaranteed. Sometimes the mainstream runs with that too as just reporting what they heard-- as in gossip.

This is not an article to say our current President is a good guy or bad. I don't have an opinion on him as I don't know enough facts. I didn't vote for him based on the issues of what he said he'd do (which he mostly is trying to do). Mostly, this is my opinion about the sources we rely on to tell us the truth of events, and my belief they are not what I once thought they were. That it's nothing new is no comfort.

It has gotten so bad that many are turning off the news period. When the news is changing everyday and using hidden sources, maybe that's not a bad thing. How does your garden look today? *s* 


Celia said...

We have to do our own research such as we can and put our brains to work. Makes me tired thinking about it right now. Thanks for putting up the link to the Paris accord by the way.

Rain Trueax said...

I really wanted to see it for myself as so much of what we get is what someone else thinks about something. Hope you are continuing to feel better.

Annie said...

I think you're right, journalistic bias is unavoidable. I lived in France for a year during the Vietnam War and the news coverage there of what was going on was very different from at home. I suspect the coverage of American politics is quite different inside and out side of the USA. I read The Economist, a blatantly biased news magazine. Their articles are full of "We think that..." and "We recommend that [politician X / country Y] do this or that". I don't mind that because it makes it quite clear that they are not trying to present themselves as unbiased. They have an agenda and are happy to make you aware of it. Trump's recent actions are not unsurprising, he is acting and speaking true to form. What is interesting is the response by other Americans and other countries to what he says and does. I'm heartened by what I see, but that doesn't mean it can't all go south very quickly.