Our News Has Too Many Opinions
Where do you get your news from? A younger friend of mine asked me that a couple of years ago. News programming once provided a set of facts on a subject along with some background materiel and left the audience to decide how they felt about the subject. Not anymore.
Now news programs provide their audience with a portion of the facts on a news story and spend most of the time on the story telling us how we should feel about the subject. To me the implication is that we as an audience don't have the skills to mentally parse through the facts and come to a logical conclusion. At the same time, these news outlets sometimes come up with half baked opinions that we are supposed to accept as the only opinion a person should have on the subject.
At the same time we also have news coming at us from many different directions. All the major television networks still have their news shows. If you look at the news from ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox, they all tend to provide us with some of the facts of a story and their opinion of what we should think. We have 24 hour news services like CNN and OAN giving us spinets of news between their opinions. We even have the British telling us what we should think with BBC America.
Some news sources that people have bother me even more than these though. My friend that asked we where I got my news from indicated he got his from late night television. Shows like Saturday Night Live, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, and Jimmy Fallon. Others may prefer daytime news with shows like The View. Newsflash everyone, these shows aren't there to provide a news service, these shows are entertainment.
Others with a herd mentality may claim to get their news from social media. This is absurd. It's true that you can find out about a news story on social media but you certainly shouldn't be taking the mass of opinions expressed there to be news. Do you realize the Google Playstore list Facebook as an app for teens? What does that tell you about the mentality of adults using Facebook for news? By the way, when I say adults I am referring to people over the age of 30.
When I'm driving I listen to a lot of conservative radio with the recognition these are not news services. There is usually a few minutes of news at the top of each hour but for the most part these shows are opinions. Some of my favorites include Sean Hannity, Andrew Wilkow, and Mark Levin. These people are quick to point out they are not news journalists, by their own admission they are radio talk show host with opinions.
To get the real information about any news story you only have a couple of options. The first option is to pull up several articles on a subject and separate the news facts from the opinions in each article. Sometimes it may take going through as many as 10 different articles to get enough facts to put together a relatively informed opinion on your own. Another method is going directly to the underlying data itself. This can be hard at times but the more times you do this the easier it gets. If your interested in a political story, the government provides any number of sources of information on different subjects including healthcare, immigration, pending legislation, government grants, and budgets. It's just a matter of going out and finding the real information those news articles filled with opinions were based on.
It may have always been like this and I am just now noticing, but I don't think so. You can stay informed on news topics anyway you want. My suggestion is if you run across something you are passionate about leave all the opinion pieces behind and dig into the real facts of the story. Flex your mental muscle a bit and come up with your own opinions.