When the news ain’t what it seems


Don Rush

Oh, the other week whilst I was flat on my back with stomach issues, I was able to watch morning network “news” broadcasts. So, I am lying there, feeling sorry for myself, waiting to make another run for the latrine, when I hear Good Morning America co-anchor George Stephanopoulos say something like, “According to reports released by BuzzFeed . . .” and then he continued to “report” on a the “news” about leaked information, the Russian investigation and the Trump administration.
First thought I had was, “Wow. How low have our nation’s broadcast news media sank if they are reporting on leaked information from a source with a name ‘BuzzFeed.”
Second thought, “How sad. The American Broadcasting Company doesn’t have the investigative broadcast journalists to verify a story.”
In their zeal to throw more dirt on this administration they hurriedly rushed to get those words out. Gone are the days relying on their own reporters. I am sure other broadcast news outlets also ran with the story. Once one does it, they all follow suit.
What’s more disturbing about this, by that evening the investigation’s lead dude — former FBI Director Robert Mueller — let out a release stating BuzzFeed’s story was “inaccurate.”
Fast forward a few days and all media, social, broadcast and print were up in arms over a short video showing a 16-year-old boy smirking and disrespecting an old, Native American elder and Vietnam veteran who was simply playing his drum and singing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
What a punk! They screamed.
What a spoiled brat! They hollered.
That kid’s a racist! They chanted.
All the problems in America can be seen in that kid’s smirk! They opined.
That kid needs to be punished! They demanded.
It was a story you could not escape, it was everywhere. Then a funny thing happened. More video of the event started popping up — videos which showed what transpired before the kid smiled and the Native American sang. The longer videos, upwards to an hour in length, showed a number of things.
One: a group of Black Hebrew Israelites started the situation by throwing mean, racist rhetoric at the high school kids and the Native Americans.
Two: the video showed the Native American elder walking up to and standing in the kid’s personal space, singing in a language the kid did not know, and playing the drum inches from the kid’s face.
News reports after the extended video surfaced glossed over the new information, still wanting to blame a 16-year-old kid for the mess because he was wearing a red, Make America Great Again ball cap. Then they wanted to blame the kids’ chaperons. Again, the main stream media could not, would not and did not provide the type of journalistic due diligence they should have. They ran with the story as fast as they could because it portrayed Trump supporters as the “bad guys.”
Had they investigated and verified this story before running with it they would have had the story correct: that a racist (weird) group were the instigators with their hate filled speech; that the Native American dude put himself in front of the kid; and that the Native American dude was NOT a Vietnam veteran.
As a person who is in the media (albeit just a wee, little part of it), I feel let down by the elites in my industry. Since this president won the election they have lost all objectivity and run with critical “news” as fast as they can — sometimes rightly, but also at times wrongly — more so than they would have done with ANY other president. And, in their doing so they play right into this president’s hand. Their lowered standards is weakening their standing. Why would people in America trust the main stream media if one out of 10 stories (or whatever the number is) is false?
Fake news . . . I hate that phrase.
When I raised this issue on social media I was bombarded with commentary. One person’s lament kinda’ struck home. This person is pretty darned smart and level-headed. Asked he, “After years of hearing the ‘fake news’ drumbeat, how do we know if anything is true? I used to say I wasn’t there so couldn’t know if it was true or not . . . So we trust the news sources to put it all together for us. As we have seen far too often, that doesn’t happen. We now have the CNN, Fox, New York Times and thousands of cell phone/social media versions of the same story, many with commentary and analysis before the story is even known. Add this to a dwindling 5th estate to report much of anything and it becomes nothing more than marketing. How can they get a compelling story out before someone else does?
“(If a) writer appears to have done her research, it all seems plausible and true, but is it? Do we all individually have to do hours of research on every single story or do we just believe what our news source of choice tells us? Add this to the lack of respect for the Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Act by our government and one has to wonder how America can be great again. Where are the framers of the Constitution, the writers of Open Meetings and Freedom of Information Acts? Where is the representation of the public versus party?”
Sadly, I think, yup, I reckon we do. If we cannot trust the media, we must do our own research. I wonder if the main stream media even cares anymore?
I think I still feel sick.

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