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A Matter of Trust

Dear Media –

You’ve seen me bitch directly about your lack of objectivity. You’ve seen me take on fake news that was so ridiculous, that anyone who is not a halfwit should have laughed the story off the Internet. I’ve condemned your inability and unwillingness to actually report the news, vice insert yourselves into it. I’ve condemned you for shoving your political agenda into nearly every “news” story. I’ve kicked you for publishing intentionally misleading garbage under the protection of the First Amendment, as if it’s some kind of shield to protect your bullshit from being identified as… well… bullshit. Needless to say, I am not a fan.

Recently I polled several hundred readers on my public Facebook page about what news sources they use and why. These are folks who come from all sides of the political spectrum – from extreme left progressives, to moderates, to ultra-conservative, to frothing Kool-Aid drinkers on all sides.

I asked them about their news sources. What actual news sources do you use to be informed about the world? I specified that I wasn’t talking about opinion journals or blogs, but actual news sources, such as the Wall Street Journal or the Economist, which have opinion sections, but generally provide insightful reporting on world events. My own list of daily go-to sources is a combination of the Wall Street Journal, CNN, BBC, the Financial Times, and the Washington Post. I also use news aggregators for a combination of sources and news reporting.

The responses I got were interesting. Here’s what I found, in addition to the usual conservatives/Fox News and liberals/NYT.

The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Reuters, AP, BBC, and the Washington Post seem to be the most popular news sources among all political affiliations.

Many can’t tell the difference between a blog, an opinion journal, and a news source. I suspect it’s because you have blurred the line between op-eds, features, and news, and twisted the definition of news to such an extent, that the audience can no longer distinguish between these media, and worse yet, has stopped caring about the difference.

Many have given up on trying to get information from media sources at all. They’d “rather be uninformed than misinformed.”

And those who do use mainstream reporting sources to get information, still look for corroborative reporting. They read the news story – even in a source as commonly trusted as the Wall Street Journal or the AP, and then they check primary sources and what other media outlets reported on the issue.

You know what this boils down to?

They don’t trust you.

They don’t trust you to report accurately.

They don’t trust you to report objectively.

They don’t trust you not to twist your reporting to suit your agendas.

They don’t trust you to have the honor and integrity to admit your mistakes.

What does it tell you when instead of just reading a news story, most people have to scrape for corroborative reporting before they believe a word you write?

What does it tell you when people trust blogs more than they trust journalists, who ostensibly have more access to information?

What does it tell you when readers trust others’ opinions more than they trust your reporting?

Is it on them? Almost certainly. Many are too lazy or too committed to their own ideologies to even consider anything that challenges their worldview. This creates a certain market for bullshit – a demand for reports that stroke people’s confirmation biases. But is it all on them? Not even close.

You complain about “fake news,” but you, more than anyone and anything, have contributed to that phenomenon with your constant failure to report objectively, your inability to report on the story without sticking your political dick into it, your outright contempt for your audiences, and your intentional and sometimes malicious obfuscation. These egregious misdeeds are well-documented. Your inability to accurately report the story without snark or subjective garbage has made you something to be derided. The public trust in what you dish out is at an all time low.

Are you really surprised that people seek out other sources of information? And are you really shocked when they begin to believe whatever they’re fed – even by ignorant, uninformed bloggers with their own agendas – as long as it’s not through you? Is it any wonder that any number of fake, misleading, biased sites have popped up to fill the void? You suck at your job, so someone else has to do it – no matter how poorly!

You twist words. You omit critical information. You conceal your own opinions in a torrent of word salad, and try and mask it as factual reporting. You obfuscate. You insert inflammatory language into a straight news report to elicit a certain reaction.

Take this current example from NPR. From the very title and first paragraph, not only do we know what the writer feels on the topic of Trump extending a program to afford veterans an opportunity to seek health care from private doctors, but we can also see how said writer tries to shape the reader’s opinion on the topic!

Trump Extends Troubled VA Program That Pays Private Doctors

Yeah, let’s make private doctors seem like a negative, dirty phrase, instead of an opportunity to choose for those who have made significant sacrifices for our country, and are now stuck in a broken, corrupt VA system.

It’s a fix that hasn’t fixed much, but the troubled Veterans Choice program has been extended anyway.

Hasn’t fixed much, according to whom? The author, who quite obviously hates it that veterans have a choice, and is taking the opportunity to slam the administration?

Veterans Choice is designed to allow veterans who have waited more than 30 days for an appointment at a VA facility, or who live more than 40 miles from one, instead to get care from private providers who then bill the VA. But it has been plagued with problems. Many vets complain that Choice actually makes getting care more difficult and time-consuming, and some health care providers have dropped out due to slow payments or administrative hassles.

“Plagued with problems.” Because that’s not inflammatory language or anything!

“Many vets complain.” How many?  I checked a Facebook page for Veterans’ complaints about the program itself. There were fewer than 20 since March, 2016. A January 2017 IG report detailed some of the problems investigators found with the program, including VC’s inadequate network of providers (I’m guessing due to the VA having 90 days to implement choice, which for a government bureaucracy is daunting, to say the least), and lack of strong oversight into payments for participating providers.

While, NPR derps about “many vets complaining,” it doesn’t provide actual numbers, nor does it note that only 13 percent of eligible veterans actually took advantage of the program, according to the IG report!

By omitting contextual information and using obviously inflammatory language to obliquely condemn the Trump Administration for having extended the program, the NPR undermined its own credibility in a transparent attempt to influence reader opinion on the issue.

And if you think NPR is a rare culprit, bitch, please! In a quest for audiences and clicks in a market that has become saturated with information, attention-grabbing headlines, no matter how misleading or outright false are gold!

And then you wonder why no one trusts you anymore? Come on! You can’t possibly be this lacking in self awareness!

But then again, maybe you are.

Clueless, arrogant, conceited, and completely lacking in storytelling ability.

Is it no wonder so few people trust you?

Signed,

Someone who is sick of your shit

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48 responses

  1. I loved this post. So much.

    Honestly, I’ve taken to getting my news from reddit news. Usually if there is some political bullshit veneer, the commentators and folks on reddit who know much more than I do about stuff will tear it apart.

    But not all the time.

    When looking at the “news”, everything must be questioned and taken with a grain of salt.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the problem is that schools have stopped teaching critical thinking, so the audience is no longer able to analyze the vast amount of bullshit being fed to them!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Agreed. And this generation is so completely emotive based that they get worked up, dare I say “triggered”, over bullshit news that they don’t have the critical thinking skills or analytical skills to recognize the bullshit. They don’t seem to know how to see beyond what’s in front of them or have actual logical thought processes.

        ^^My diatribe for the day.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know, right?

          That post I did from that sketchy organization that was taken down was beyond ridiculous, and yet the comments were so full of DERP!, I actually had to wonder if the Internet was filled with fuckwits that day! Worse yet, some derpasaurus linked to it on the Free Republic, and the comments would have been funny, had they not been completely retarded.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. This kind of stuff makes me lose sooo much faith in humanity and want to become a recluse… in the mountains… or a sailboat in the Caribbean with rum.

          Like

  2. Once upon a time Walter Cronkite was “The most trusted man in America.” He may have been a lying sack of shit but he was a trusted lying sack of shit. (Or he may not have been. It could be that his heavy-handed, biased “reporting” of Southeast Asia has colored my perceptions more than it should.)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The media has never been 100 percent objective. But the obvious lies, snark, hysteria, and language meant to foment outrage aren’t even concealed any longer.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

        Plus, before the rise of “National Media” (ie Television & Radio), you could find newspapers in the same city that had different political POV.

        Oh, I laughed at something I saw at a Lincoln museum in Springfield Illinois.

        They were showing (in their opinion) how major Television News folks would cover Lincoln’s first presidential election.

        It was laughable considering how the newspapers of that time covered Lincoln’s election. 😀

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m tired of having to strain the news to see whats going on. Local news is good for traffic and weather, and not much else.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Not even. The local TV weather dweeb makes so many bizarre claims that I watch him for laughs. One of my personal favorites was the day the sun set an hour early.

      And that isn’t an isolated case. In Saint Louis, a station reported the sun shining brightly hours past sundown. And that the Gateway Arch was awash because the Mississippi had risen.

      Like

  4. It’s hard to know how deep the rabbit hole goes sometimes. Back in the day I would stay away from obvious rags like National Enquirer. Recently, those I was sure were reliable news (CNN, etc.) have come into question. I can’t even verify mainstream sources with Snopes now, as I’ve begun to question their credentials/expertise.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Snopes is far from reliable or credible as far as their supposed “fact checking”.
      They’ve outright lied multiple times,as have the other supposed fact checkers.
      They almost all are heavily biased to the left.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Snopes had a habit of marking ‘plausible’ or ‘undetermined’ several leftist cause celebre’ despite real world contrary evidence.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I get that now, but I didn’t always know.

        I could sometimes get reliable tech advice from them (one example I remember is the research they provided as to whether a chain email telling us to delete a Windows file was legit; it wasn’t).

        Like

      3. Snopes is credible on anything that’s NOT political.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. But the left insists everything is political…

          Liked by 1 person

        2. They try to make it so. Sure. But to Snopes’ credit, they’ve been pretty good on faked photos, for instance, or on whether or not a politician actually said a thing. I run it all through a bullshit filter.

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Mostly-but I’ve caught a lot of their supposed facts that were dead wrong.
          Some were environmental issues, some were hunting/fishing/target shooting on public lands,they still insist a discredited “study” that eating wild game killed with lead ammo causes people to ingest lead fragments. They also claim another bullshit study that was discredited about Ca condors dying from eating gut piles hunters leave in woods after killing deer is true.
          There are a lot more, not home or I would provide more examples as I have a bunch of files saved on laptop with similar examples from fighting nonsense from animal rights whackos and enviro whackos.

          Like

        4. I’m not saying they’re perfect, but there are things they are good at, especially when it comes to these insane bullshit urban legends that just don’t die! Bottom line is that we all need to do our own research.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. Agreed on the urban legend stuff.
          I guess I’m kinda biased against Snopes due to them supporting the extremists in the environmental and animal “rights” movements.
          I’ve been fighting their agendas since high school in the 70’s.
          They also support just about anything that’s anti- gun.
          Since I’m a hunter,target shooter- long range on public lands where the enviro whackos are using bogus “research” and “studies” to justify their demands for no target shooting and their never ending efforts to ban hunting.
          I don’t hunt big game for antler size-I hunt to fill my freezer and make jerky, summer sausage etc.

          Liked by 1 person

        6. Great. Now I’m hungry! LOL

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Yep – back in the day, I broke a number of my email correspondents of the habit of indiscriminate forwarding me these these stories of crime or suffering children, or just … spammish stuff – by sending them the link to Snopes, debunking the same. They were a good resource – back then. But this is now, and they are fatally compromised.

          Yeah, call me Captain Buzz-Kill. I live to serve.

          Liked by 2 people

    2. Agreed. And even with statistics, which I recently wrote a post on, you can cook the books to say anything. And as a researcher with a back ground in data analysis and stats, I don’t trust any studies that don’t list their methodology or any studies that I didn’t do myself lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This should be sent to the letters to the editor of every major newspaper in the U.S. and to every network,cable , and online “news” source.
    I might send it in-(with credit to the author of course)- to the two crappy NE Ohio newspapers- the Akron Beacon Journal, aka Akron Leakin’ Urinal and the Cleveland Plain Dealer aka Cleveland Pain Feeler.
    Both were at one time reasonably objective news sources- back around 1967 or so.
    Now the Leakin Urinal is so far left it’s not worth reading, the Cleveland pain feeler is mainly Cleveland.com and leans left but not as far as the crAkron paper.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I didn’t get around to answering on Facebook, but I mainly follow the Wall Street Journal. I have an electronic subscription, so I get the headlines each morning and alerts through the day.
    I got disgusted with the Washington Post feed when it became obvious their philosophy was, “If you can’t say anything nice about Trump, put it on the front page”.

    Like

    1. BTW – you can still reply on FB. I just unpinned it, so it may have slipped down just a little.

      I do read the Post, because when they do straight events reporting, they’re usually on target. But again, I verify every damn thing.

      Like

  7. I also missed the poll.

    For local, I usually listen to the local Fox affiliate – at least the morning team is amusing (Although one of their on the street reporters sets my teeth on edge. Someone didn’t teach this chick about null words. Gah.) ((Even that is run through an on-board bs filter)) and a local “Family” radio station.

    For world, if I have the time, NHKWorld. I learn more about American politics and actions watching a English version of a foreign news broadcast than I do watching American news.

    I stopped reading papers several years ago. WaPo, which I find in the breakroom from time to time, is laughable. The local community paper is, to borrow a phrase, fish-wrap or kindling. I did read WSJ on-line, but they only give you the headlines now.

    The rest of my “news sources” are Judicial Watch and some blogs where they give links so I can read the article for myself, and do my own follow-up research. ((if only some of my fb friends would do that, instead of posting up ever piece of gibberish OccupyDemocrats puts out.))

    Like

    1. The Pasadena Star-News and L.A. times are great for using in a chimney starter to get the charcoal going. Other than that, i see no use.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. The bias is a fault of the media, but, honestly, i think the click-bait headlines are ours. Since the dawn of the internet, we have gotten so used to getting our news for free, that we seem to have forgotten that reporting, ACTUAL reporting that is worth a damn, costs money. And since a lot of new sites have moved on to ad based models, generating clicks, not reporting information, is what is now their jobs. Which they are doing rather effectivly.
    As the saying goes: “If a business provides a service where you don’t pay anything, you are the product and not the customer”

    Like

    1. I agree partially, and as I said, much of this is on the reader. But at the same time, if the media was doing its job, these clickbait and alternate “news” sites wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much traction!

      Like

  9. > news sources they use and why

    I make a deliberate effort *not* to follow any news. I don’t care about most events enough to try sorting through the spin and lies. “News”, unfortunately, tends to creep into discussions on forums and blogs I frequent. So, whenever I feel curious about an event, if it’s important enough, it will come up for discussion on one of the blogs where people love to dig for the details and post them. “Curation”, like…

    Do I trust some random collection of net.nimnos more than a professional news source?

    You bet your ass I do…

    Liked by 2 people

  10. WaPo is still trying to live off its thingy with Deep Throat and Richard Nixon and Watergate. And if I hear ‘gate’ attached to a fustercluck in the news, the story itself is diminished in value because it now means that the real story may not be what it was puffed up to be.
    I get CNBC because it seems to be anchored more firmly in the tangible world, Forbes, WSJ, Agence France Presse and LaFrance24 (yes, in French, otherwise I get no practice). There are local channels that don’t seem to be able to get their act together on reporting facts, which is disturbing when I get a story online reported the same way by three different sources, and the local channel’s version is somehow hyped up or changed to be a PC point of view. That makes no sense at all.
    The goal of all media outlets now is to get your attention, period. The method is to inflate the importance of something, bend the truth or alter it in some way, for the sole purpose of getting your attention instead of just telling the story. Using hyperbole, hysterics and hand-wringing is all they know. It is, in fact, so bad that if they reported aliens landing in the Loop in Chicago, I’d find another channel just to do a reality check.
    The real kicker? Orson Welles’ 1938 broadcast of ‘War of the Worlds’. It was done in a way that made people wonder what was going on. It was the newspapers that invented the panic, not the radio play. We should never let them live it down.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “The goal of all media outlets now is to get your attention”

      If it bleeds, it leads.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard | Reply

        And if it doesn’t bleed right now, the News Media will use a knife to make it bleed. 😉

        Liked by 3 people

  11. Not a disagreement with you, but experience colors the stories, too. It used to be that one became a reporter after working other jobs. Now they seem to go straight from college to reporting with little real life experience. This is one of the reasons that ear plugs are misidentified as “rubber bullets” and every firearm is either an AK-47 or an AR-15. Of course they try to fit every story into the “narrative” they were taught at the uni, even otherwise non-political stories.

    The old story of the newspaper sports reporter and poetry reviewer having a drink at a bar together after work. A fight broke out in the room. The next day both reports wrote articles about the incident. The poetry reviewer (who was used to aggression being expressed by a sharp word and a distainful glance) wrote: “In the bar it was horrible. The combatants were trying to kill each other. Blood flew in all directions.” The sports reporter (who was used to covering hockey games & prize fights and recognized that a little blood was not necessarily indicative of great injury) wrote: “Last night, a few of the guys had a small dust-up. No one went to the hospital and all ended well”.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Poking my head into the news sites is an exercise in annoyance. A number of them end up with a crapload of stuff that should’ve been in the gossip section of things, as front page things, and I’ve found stuff that should’ve been front page news buried in the financial or science/tech news.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I dumped cable 2 years ago and went with internet and just a Roku Player. I watch One America News. They tilt right but, they also have “Historical Moments” between newscasts about our nation’s history and very few commercials. I get my news from Drudge, Instapundit, Ace, NewsBusters ((MRC), Weasel Zippers. BUT, those sites also link to credible news stories, regardless of the source.

    Like

    1. Drudge and Instapundit are aggregators, and that seems to be a popular thing. That way you’re getting a balance of issues you want to read. I read Ace and Newsbusters on occasion too, but I also know they’re blogs and not news. It’s other people’s take on news.

      Like

  14. Here’s the test to use with any media:.
    Consider a topic you really know something about: be it work related or a hobby, etc etc.
    Watch for coverage of that topic.
    Observe the obvious inaccuracies and biases.

    Pause for a moment and consider: if coverage is so wrong concerning a topic for which I’m familiar, why should I believe the coverage is correct for topics I am not so familiar with?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a smart way to go about it, but that said, some outlets have experts on one issue, but not the other. Honestly, relying on CNN for economic news is just silly, but up-to-date coverage on attacks and such… I’ll go to them.

      Like

  15. I write about cars and the automotive industry for The Truth About Cars (ttac.com) and my own site, Cars In Depth (carsindepth.com). Most “journalism” these days is secondary and tertiary reporting. Hardly anyone writing on topics bothers to go to the original source material, even if it’s only a press release. They repeat what others report rather than reading what legislation actually says. They almost all rely on the same pull quotes and don’t bother to do any actual reporting or research. Unless the reporter is standing by the burning building, the “news” you read has already been manipulated, either by a public information officer at a government agency or their counterpart at a private sector firm. Then you add in the reporter’s biases and lack of knowledge on the subject (see: Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect, first reported by Michael Crichton, where on any subject in which the reader is expert they can see how the media gets things wrong, and then they turn the page and believe what is written about other stuff) and you can see why the “news” we read is so inaccurate.

    Like

  16. Watch that metrosexual twit Scott Pelley if you want to throw up but can’t. The head shaking part is that if you strapped this barking moonbat to a lie detector and asked him if he’s a “real journalist” and gives a right-down-the-middle account of the news, he’d say yes and the machine would register TRUTH. He sincerely doesn’t believe he’s the south end of a northbound horse. I’ll NEVER watch him again.

    Like

  17. P.S. Great post Nicki!

    Like

  18. Perfect example: ESPN. Compare and contrast: Time and OutKick (who has been reporting on this for ages).

    Like

  19. To be honest Nicki, this is just the general public catching up with what those of us who were around the news media for many years always knew. My dad was a newspaperman for 32 years, going from reporter to managing editor. I learned from him that the perceived accuracy of any story was in almost exactly reverse proportion to your own personal knowledge of the story’s topic. That being the case, we learned very early to disregard pretty much everything we read or heard in newspapers, magazines, TV, and radio unless verified by independent sources. And that includes things as ordinary as small town city council meetings, society flower shows, etc.

    Like

  20. The only source I subscribe to–since the nuclear-tipped 1980s when I was a member of the Libertarian Defense Caucus–is Reason Magazine. I replaced Teevee with books in the 1970s, earned a degree and never looked back.

    Like

  21. “doveryai no proveryai”

    Liked by 1 person

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