Certainly, knowing the news and the situations throughout the world within moments of an event happening has moved from a luxury to a modern day expectation. But reporting the news is a far cry from making the news. Unfortunately that line is being blurred in some of the media reporting we see today.
If there isn’t enough general interest in a news development, why not ask certain leading questions to get newsmakers on the record as supporting or denying certain actions? Once you’ve got the newsmaker on the record, you’ve got news, right? Well, certainly you’ve created a story, but it doesn’t necessarily follow that your story is news. In fact, creating news stories where none really exist can be a true disservice to the public. This is particularly true with regard to stories involving homeland and national security.
We as Americans are proud of our successes and have learned from the failures. We are a information-hungry society; we are not a society in need of help from information gatekeepers who analyze a situation and tell us what we should think about it. We are a people who make decisions on our own.
Our forefathers died so that we could maintain our freedoms. One of those held near is the freedom to choice and each American has that right.
My fear of late is that some in the media are providing biased facts – facts, yes, but facts put within a particular preconceived context to make a predetermined point. While the media often deride those in government service or even politics as “spinning” the news, I think that the media can often be a complicit partner or, worse, the generator of such spin. It’s the old “When did you stop beating your wife?” tactic, that puts the alleged interviewee on the defensive from the beginning – a denial of such a leading question in of itself becomes news. The next day’s headlines read: “Mr. X Denies Beating His Wife!”
How many stories do you read about some reporter crossing the border illegally or smuggling some contraband across the border, with gotcha headlines asserting that our homeland security system is broken? What is rarely reported are all of the other aspects of the nation’s security. Because an XYZ reporter sneaks through Customs doesn’t mean that he would not be caught in one of the many other layers of security put into place to protect the homeland. Does more need to be done? Of course. But we should keep our focus on the most critical needs, and not react to a never-ending cycle of manufactured threats.
Or think of the financial crisis we are now facing. For how many months have the media been reporting that we are in a recession when, factually, we have not officially entered a recession yet. (It requires two quarters of downward growth.) Does that mean we’re not in a bad economic situation? Of course not. But it would be nice to be able to read the media and know that you’re getting unbiased facts so that you can make your own judgments.
Of late it has become harder to determine what actually is news and what are editorials and opinions.
The election coverage is particularly disturbing. We as Americans will go to the polls in 1 week, hopefully with the facts, and thus with our own opinions — and not with just the things we remember by repeated editorials from the press.
Let’s hope all Americans do their own analysis and make up their own minds before they pull the lever. Let’s hope that they mark the ballet as their conscience guides them and leave behind what some are reporting as news when in fact is just opinion.
I’ve seen too many false stories conjured up by political spinmeisters inside and outside of the media when it comes to homeland security. I’ve seen calls of “politicization” whenever our security alerts have been raised – when I’ve seen some of the intelligence that has led to such decisions. The media aren’t serving the public when they engage in such fearmongering. And having seen such reporting, it makes me question what I’ve been reading in the media about the candidates for president. It makes me that much more determined to get the facts for myself and try to avoid the biases of the gatekeepers of public information.