When I was growing up, you got the news of the day from Walter Cronkite. To borrow a phrase from Uncle Walter: That’s just the way it was.
No more. Who now is the most trusted person in America? I have no idea.
Where do we get our news in 2023? I think the war between Israel and Hamas is telling us something.
The front page of Sunday’s New York Times included a news analysis. “Online Deceits Make the Truth a War Casualty.”
The piece talks about how much false and misleading leading information about the war is making its way online. So much so, it has obscured what is actually happening. “Authenticity crises,” the Times calls it.
This has been brewing for awhile now. We want to get our news from sources that mirror our opinions. Fox News for conservatives. MSNBC for liberals. CNN is trying to put itself back in the middle. Those cable outlets do still report the facts. Their commentators bring in the opinion.
Now, some of the online world is making it up as they go. Beheaded babies in Israel. Turns out, it is unsubstantiated. It’s out there though. Now, people believe it.
Who do you trust for your news these days? Pew Research finds that people under 30 trust social media almost as much as traditional news outlets.
Now, Artificial Intelligence is complicating things. When you can have AI write a story in seconds, how can the fact checkers keep up?
I’m worried where all this is headed. I’ve spent my career reporting the news. I’ve tried my best to get it right. Yes, I have failed at it occasionally and still beat myself up for the mistakes.
I feel like the truth is not nearly as important as it once was. That bothers me.
We are living in perilous times. This war could expand quickly. We need the truth. We need the facts.
Who do we trust? Who do we believe? I’m glad Cronkite isn’t here to see this.