It’s a journalist’s job to objectively report the truth to the public about things going on that could affect them. For years politicians and political pundits have been using fear as technique to create a panic in order to gain monetary or political compensation, and we’ve been mistaking that for journalism.
It’s simple to blame mass media for fooling us, but it’s hard not to take advantage when we make it so easy. It’s called fact-checking, people. Dispelling fictitious stories told to us by the man on the talking box with the soothing voice is a Google search away.
We live in a world where satirical comedies such as the Colbert Report and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart are more reliable than MSNBC and Fox News.
According to a poll on PunditFact.com, only eight percent of stories on FOX are one hundred percent factual, and only nine percent of stories presented on MSNBC are factual. CNN produces twice as many factual stories but doesn’t even make the halfway mark.
Though things presented in the media will have you believing we’re days away from twerking our way into pot-laced, Ebola-ridden oblivion, the images painted by major news networks aren’t an accurate representation of what’s going on.
If you take into account all of the folks who get their news through word of mouth, you’ve got a whole mess of opinions attributed to manipulated facts. It’s like the biggest game of “telephone” except worse because you’re playing with actual facts. It’s extremely difficult to find actual journalistic reporting. Major news networks have turned into the home of political shouting matches rather than actual news reporting.
Every news organization has bias but you can only stretch the truth so far to meet your personal agenda.
People like MSNBCs Laurence O’Donnell and Ed Schultz seem to be experts at making conservative political activists look like morons, but there has got to be a way to do that without manipulating information they’re dishing out to their nightly audiences.
FOX news reporters – if you can call them that and still sleep at night – are infamous for these kinds of things. The people on this network seem to think that talking louder than everyone in the room and constantly interrupting people in the middle of answering questions makes you right when in fact, it only makes the person appear incompetent and belligerent. We’re looking at you Bill O’Reilly.
There’s an old phrase that goes “any publicity is good publicity.” Apparently this seems to hold true because when certain individuals get on TV and make outlandish remarks about things they should know, but don’t actually know about, they sell more merchandise and ultimately make the most profit from brainwashing the public.
So if we can’t get reliable news from the TV, what can we turn to? According to a 2013 study done by the Reynolds Journalism Institute on behalf of the National Newspaper Association, two-thirds of Americans in small towns depend on their local newspaper for news and information.
It’s so much easier to contact the local paper if you find mistakes in its reporting and it’s a lot harder to call up CNN to tell them their reporters are bad at covering stories.
We’re to blame partially for the misinformation because we don’t think about the things presented to us. We just react. This why snobs in other countries think Americans are stupid.
If you are going to make watching the news your main source of information, you’re going to have to fact-check every story they run. Only then can we form educated opinions and decide what actions to take.