The run up to the November elections is shaping up to be a difficult time in this country. Everybody is mad about something.
I’m sure there have been more divisive periods in our history. Think of “The 60’s” with the Vietnam War and the Civil Rights Movement. I was too young to think about it back then. Now, it’s “my 60’s” and I’m living it.
I’ve come to realize that being in the news business gives you a unique perspective on things. Usually, it’s fun. You get to tell people things they don’t know. You can enlighten. You can talk about things that need to be changed. You feel as though you are doing some good. I think that’s why most of us got into the news business.
Not anymore. I can’t tell you how many emails I get from folks accusing me of reporting “fake news.”
Here’s the thing. I don’t report “fake news.” You may not like what I report, but it’s true. It’s real.
I hate the phrase. “Fake news”. It lessens what I do. It insults me. It insults my profession.
This post is becoming a rant. I hadn’t planned on that, but it’s been a week. The news isn’t good right now, but it’s true. We report the news. The good and the bad. We try really hard to get it right. We never, I mean, NEVER make it up.
Now, that’s not to say there isn’t any fake news out there. In fact, the Washington Post has a piece about how the News Literacy Project is trying to teach young people to tell the difference between real and fake news.
It talks a lot about “QAnon” and this disturbing spread of misinformation. Have you read any of this stuff? Conspiracy theories that have no basis in fact.
It’s these kinds of things that scare me. Maybe that’s the journalist in me. I see how one little thing can take hold and become a belief. Someone’s truth.
We need to be steadfast in finding and reporting the truth. Not rumors and conspiracy theories.
I started this post being ready to throw in the towel. Just quit. I think I’ve talked myself into sticking with the news business. I got into this industry to tell the truth. These days, it’s more important than ever.
Somebody has to do it.
4 thoughts on “Fake News”
My problem with “news” is that the newspaper editors get to decide what is the news. If 20 things happen in a day and you only have room to report 10 then those 10 become the news for some people. While the editors are deciding what 10 things make it , if negative things about a certain person always seem newsworthy but anything positive about that same person never make it I get very suspicious of an agenda. I think the Washington Post and NY Times are guilty of this. What they report is factually correct. What they fail to report because it doesn’t agree with their left leaning ideals makes them just as bad as any fake news outlet. You can be totally correct in what you report and at the same time be totally unfair.
Hang in there!
But then what is fair?? What I think is fair may not be what you think is fair. Who are we to decide. Now rationally you can ask, “what is the truth?” If you have proof as to what “truth” is then you would be wise to follow what you have found, not believe, but have proven is true. Truth is you Russell Rhodes are very good at what you do, so. . . keep on keeping on sir. Thank you for being there. We have to look at what is proven best for the people not any party, the people.
Thank you Mr. Rhodes. I would be very sad to ever hear of you leaving the industry. I only watch your show due to you. When that other guy, who I do not like, is in your place I do turn the station. I enjoy your candor, and you can truly see how much you care about your job, and to delivering the news to people. As I too was too young in the sixties to truly realize what the country was going through, I do agree this is our 60’s. One item I do remember was every television turned to the resignation of a sitting President, and the country breathing a sort of sigh of relief, that part of a night,are was over. I do hope once the current sitting President leaves office we can again feel that sigh of relief. I also remember not that long ago, when those that did report “fake” news were vilified, were called out and basically flogged by their peers for this. Now there is more than one entire news stations dedicated to not reporting truthful information, the local version run here is not a party to that, and I do realize that. I wish that those in reporting of the news would worry less about “butts in the seats”, as I call it and start demanding your brethren in the media stop their nonsense of reporting half truths, innuendo and conspiracies as factual information. As long as no one is holding anyone accountable, this misinformation will continue and as t does it will continue to erode people’s attitude towards anyone tied to reporting. So Mr. Rhodes I do hope you never consider leaving the industry please. Many would be very unhappy to see one of the “good ones” go.