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?
Someone who is sick of your shit