A few weeks ago, I came into the apartment to find my husband watching NY1. NY1 is a channel owned by Spectrum/TimeWarner Cable and is specifically for NYC. They were most famously parodied on the show “How I Met Your Mother” when they used to show the morning newscaster reading aloud the headlines from the daily papers…so yes, that is true, we do indeed have a news channel where the anchor reads the headlines…

On the station that morning was a politician, let’s call the Politician Cuthbert. Cuthbert was having a press conference and was fielding questions from reporters. I watched the broadcast live and saw exactly what was said unedited. Cuthbert said some rather controversial things.

After the press conference NY1 asked some people for their reaction. They chose another politician from the same party as Cuthbert. Politician A stated- “I think Cuthbert needs to rethink what they said because I don’t think Cuthbert understands exactly what is going on and how best to deal with it.” Very diplomatic.

NY1 then interviewed a regular person. Regular Person 1 said “I think Cuthbert is &^%$% nuts. Do they have any idea what they’re talking about? I think it’s time for Cuthbert to get out of dreamland and take a step back to reality” (this isn’t the exact quote but I summarized because RP1 was really crazy about what Cuthbert said.

So after seeing this press conference, and watching two people of the same party as Cuthbert disagree as the the approach, i decided to follow this story to see how it was portrayed in the media.

The next day I got Newspaper A. Newspaper A gave the story two paragraphs, below the fold, in the second section of the paper. They toned down what Cuthbert stated and didn’t give any direct quotes, just summarized the press conference, actually omitting the  most controversial statement.

Newspaper B had it on page 3, big headline, mainly direct quotes of the press conference, minimum opinion, controversial statement in bold.

24 Hour news entertainment site C did not cover the story at all, or did it at such an odd time, or so minimally, the normal person might miss it.

24 hour news entertainment D made a very big deal about the story- highlighting the controversial statement.

We have entered an era where news is not reported, We have entered an era where figureheads decide exactly what stories will receive space during a broadcast or in print. The journalism basics of who, what, when where and how have evolved into

  1. who do we want to shine and who do we want to destroy
  2. what can we do to make this story more or less prominent
  3. where will this story create the most or least impact
  4. when can we drop a bombshell to switch focus to a different story
  5. why would we want to actually tell the truth
  6. how can we keep people glued to us so that our rating go up

A senior editor at a newspaper was fired for printing an op ed because the publishers did not like it because it went against what the paper said. It’s funny because I vaguely remember being taught that op ed means opposite the editorial page, and that things that appear here are usually in contrast to something the paper has printed. How do you let an editor go because they chose to print another view?

Can you trust anything printed or broadcast?

Do we need to watch actual live coverage of things in order to know exactly what was and wasn’t said?

Do we need to stop watching news entertainment, stop reading news/entertainment papers?”

At what point do ordinary people take back control of how stories are disseminated?

Can you believe anything said on any “news” platform?

Are we “allowed’ to have an opposite opinion, or is anyone with an opposing view deemed as “stupid”?

Is the news media more interested in offering opinions as opposed to facts?

Are the news media only interested in ratings?

I’ll leave you with this quote:

You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war

Do we actually need the clutter that is known as news media? Or can we rid our lives of it like expired food and broken objects?

Discuss

 

55 thoughts on “The News, and Nothing but the News

  1. Freedom of the Press is something I was actually discussing yesterday with my Dad. Looking around the countries at countries with dictatorships, the first thing that is changed by an oppressive leadership is freedom of the press. Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran – I am not an expert but I believe the above statement is accurate. In my opinion the only influence on China is world opinion and of course that comes as the result of freedom of the press. What excesses would occur in the world if not for the light and influence of the press? Looking at our countries, this freedom by the Press needs to further protected, but even enhanced. Let’s take a step back and imagine if the journalists did not investigate or question? 1930’s Germany comes to mind.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I don’t know how much investigating is going on. I also don’t think they’re allowing the public to form their own opinion. News is supposed to be reporting of the facts without agenda. I can’t remember the last time I read/saw something without agenda. They omit what they don’t agree with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You could be correct, I don’t know. Is the agenda from some news a push back in response to events? Even “individual freedom” needs constraints for the benefit of the greater majority.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. For an editor to be let go because they published an editorial that was opposite what the paper believes is unconscionable. A newspaper is supposed to give open forum to all sides. The fact that this was done makes me distrust all news sources. We can’t only hear one side of the story… that takes away our right to decide for ourselves

        Liked by 3 people

    1. I have stopped watching the 24hour entertainment networks. I watch a 630 broadcast of news from the most impartial anchor I’ve found. I don’t believe anything anyone prints anymore. To me it’s become a case of divide and conquer…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Wow, LA, you have presented an excellent and telling example. This is an example of the media deciding what facts we are and aren’t going to hear; it’s pure, shameful manipulation. Our question to ourselves has to be how do we spot it and how can we possibly get the unadulterated truth so we can do our own analysis. The op-Ed’s are more problematic for me. It’s fine to have differences of opinion, but in this post-truth world the “opinions” are often an excuse for promoting non-truth, for example disparaging science and public health experts. That’s not just someone else’s “opinion”, it’s spreading dangerous misinformation. I don’t know how all this gets fixed. The camps seem to be getting more and more set in their ways.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the problem…each side is now cemented in. But this has got to stop. We need to hear facts not opinions, and if something is still in progress, we need to know that it’s still being tested/researched. You can’t omit what we don’t “like”, nor can we ignore hearing both sides of an issue.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. True journalism died when Walter Cronkite and Huntley/Brinkley went off the air. When CNN first came out with 24/7 news they were fairly objective. This dissipated rapidly. Now 24/7 news is the scourge of so-called journalism.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It is really confusing. My husband devours the newspaper every day. I rarely read anything and don’t listen to the news. Depressing to realize that while the truth is out there, you have to dig so hard to try and find it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It is challenging if you don’t know the stories behind the stories also. There is so little we can understand if not in real time. I am not sure what to believe but it does cause divide, for sure. What one person infers from what is said or posted might be totally different from what another hears having a different perspective or inside knowledge of something. Then again, in the past, one know there were lots of child abductions but were truly aware of them in 1968 as the news media was not as prevalent.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. For example, if I have certain knowledge of the background of a Staten Island commissioner, this might not be common news but it might be bearing on his policies but if you and I don’t talk and you live in Staten Island, a little is lost in translation.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I stopped watching TV news a long time ago..not that print is more believable, but at least it’s not being presented by the cable TV news equivalent of BRAVO wannabes aching for some staged viral moment to catapult them to stardom..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think you have always seen this kind of thing in the past, but it’s just amplified more so now and probably also happening a lot more now than ever. I do read a lot of news, but I try to vary my sources to try and get a fuller picture. I also avoid a lot of the opinion types of articles. With access to more sources from all over, you can, and really should, be more discerning in what you take in to ensure that you are getting facts rather than hype.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. You are 100% correct. For me, the question is, why are they all going to such great lengths to lie to us? Each side likes to claim it is simply political/ideological bias, but there’s a little voice in my head that’s telling me it’s something much more than that. I don’t claim to know “what” but there is definitely something more to all this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I had a better handle on what’s actually going on…but every day it gets harder to figure out what’s driving this bus. I’m so disillusioned right now…

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I think 5 and 6 are very true. On the clueless side of news, that’s pretty much what’s going on every where in the world where a conference is aired live – and there’s no means to edit or rephrase.
    As for watching the news – I stopped watching /listening to the news somewhere around 2002/03 and only re-started this year because of the pandemic. In that gap, I wasn’t “blessedly clueless”, because if there was something important to know, someone would mention it to me.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I quit watching news on TV decades ago and gave up a local paper about three years ago. Many skewed headlines appear on my monitor, and to counteract that, I read an independent online commentary. John often mentions talk radio comments, so I feel I know a bit of two sides. I’m skeptical of almost everything. How some people can swallow what they are fed is beyond me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m skeptical too. I think everything is biased right now, and no one is actually reporting facts. I can form my own opinion. Give me the actual details

      Like

  11. There have always been editors greenlighting stories or killing them. The fact that you called news/entertainment shows a problem. It is not meant to be entertainment it is meant to inform. People will read or watch what they want. We should NEVER give up a free press!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re assuming what we have is even close to free press. That’s why I call it news entertainment because it’s so far away from the reality of what’s actually news worthy.

      Like

      1. I think we have too much information about things and it is repeating all the time on all networks or news media. If I can watch something that is televised such as a live news conference I will then I am just presented with the facts as to how they happened.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. As DFolstad pointed out, I do believe a free press is essential to a free society. However, “news” has essentially become entertainment, partly because of media monopolies. Reporting what a politician says is not news – it’s strictly opinion and not necessarily based in fact. And no, not all opinions are equal. They don’t carry equal weight and deserve equal media coverage. Those based on empirical evidence and sound reasoning should be promoted over stuff like unfounded conspiracy theories and such. If you want purely unedited content, there is always Facebook and other social media. I don’t think much good comes from it, frankly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think reporting what a politician says is news, because it’s exactly what they plan to do. If my governor says that restaurants must sell food with alcohol, that’s news and fact. But the direct quote should be used, not a reporters interpretation of the statement. I want the reporter to state “the governor said you must buy food when drinking”. I don’t want to hear why this is right or wrong. I want what’s happening and then I want to make my own opinion

      Liked by 1 person

  13. As a trained journalist, I would say there is a huge difference between local news (well-reported local/community news) and “media.” We have to address the fact that local journalism is dead–otherwise, all we’ll get is what we have now, but increasingly worse…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I totally agree! There is really very little news these days, just opinions and reporting that is carefully screened to give the result they want. And sadly, lots of people seem okay with that, even confusing it with a free press. (Some of the comments on this thread are good examples of that.) I think the purpose of the news is to give us the facts and let us draw our own conclusions, but that doesn’t happen. Like you, sometimes I actually compare how different stories are portrayed on different “news” sites, just to see far apart they are….and they’re always WAY far apart. Other things aren’t reported at all, because it isn’t the facts people want us to know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t understand why there is a need to furnish us with what our opinions are supposed to be. Are we not smart enough to look at facts and ascertain what’s wrong and right? And then it’s furthered by “sharing” the same inane things…..

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And everyone has an opinion on what everyone else is doing. In a time we’re supposed to be celebrating our individuality, we seem to be trying hard to make everyone the same

        Liked by 1 person

  15. I remember the 60’s when Walter Koncrite wasn’t even allowed to announce John F. Kennedy’s death until it was verified as an actual fact. Who, what, when where and why were the fundamentals of a story. Now we have opinions, discussion and speculation for hours about endless possibilities. I tend to watch the 11pm evening national news, which is about as close to facts as you can get now.

    Liked by 1 person

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