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.