I get asked a lot of questions as editor of the newspaper. Many are along the lines of, “Can you even read?” Or, “Do you know what editing means?”
Hey, our readers love me, what can I say.
But one question I have been getting with some regularity in recent months is where do I get my news. And people want to know how they can trust a news source.
Honestly, in this sudden age of “fake news” it can be a challenge. Sadly, way too many people – especially young people – get their news from Facebook. Trust me, unless it is a link to a legitimate news source, that thing posted by your uncle Earl from Springfield probably should not be taken as the gospel truth.
As they say, if your mom says she loves you, check her sources.
I do have some legitimate news sources in my Facebook feed, and that is where I can go for quick news updates. They also post columns, which are opinion and not news, and because they are I generally ignore them.
This is something that seems to confuse people. Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow give people their opinions, not the news. We all have opinions and they are worth pretty much nothing in many instances. If you go to bloviating TV talking heads on cable “news” networks for your information, you are not going to a great source.
I would suggest sticking to the CNN’s of the world only in breaking news situations, and then only for the first hour or so. As 24-hour cable news channels have a ton of time to fill, they too often rely on people who really have nothing of value to say.
Another thing I avoid at all costs is talk radio. Talk radio is the same as those opinion shows on cable news, just maybe worse. It is just noise, and much of it is fact free and divisive nonsense, in my opinion.
Remember, you asked.
In general, I try to avoid watching or listening to only the news that I “agree” with. News should just be that, news. It should not have a particular point of view. If we are honest, we know that MSNBC and Fox are not valid news sources. They have an angle, always, and I never watch them for that reason. They have zero value for someone who wants reality, not just reality the way the right or left see it.
I do on occasion watch the evening news on the major networks – NBC, ABC or CBS. I don’t have one in particular that I watch, and I only tune in for the first segment, as there is too much filler for me.
I listen daily to National Public Radio. If you rolled your eyes when I said that, you probably don’t listen to NPR. It is incredibly fair and has excellent balance. Plus, it gives me a big dose of international news and analysis that I just don’t get anywhere else.
Finally, I do read newspapers online. I choose those with long, distinguished histories of great journalism. My two main sources are the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both are Pulitzer Prize rich and do the investigative work that is so necessary in this media age.
If you want to be informed, seek out legitimate sources with solid journalistic pedigrees. If you just want to hear things that reinforce your world view, please don’t pretend you want to be an informed American because you clearly don’t.