Fandango’s Provocative Question #134

Cartoon By Mickey Paraskevas

I would like to point out that there’s plenty of room between “I believe everything I hear because my sources are impeccable!” and “I think I have a sufficient selection of news sources so that mostly, I’m pretty sure my sources are reasonably accurate.”

I’m also selective and don’t believe everything I read or hear — no matter who said it. My reading sources — the ones to which I subscribe — are:

  • The Washington Post
  • The New York Times
  • National Geographic
  • The New Yorker
  • The Smithsonian.

I also read summaries from The Boston Globe, Bloomberg, and Huff. We watch the local news and sometimes, international — depending on what’s going on. We also know people who still work in the news and if we aren’t sure about something, we ask. Usually, it’s Garry who asks.

I’m not sure that the news was ever presented fairly, accurately, and without bias, not in today’s electronic world or earlier on leaflets or via town crier. Every news group has an agenda. It’s why they want to do news.

While I want to believe whatever Walter Cronkite said was the truth, I’m sure he got stuff wrong.

FACTOID FOR FANS: In Yiddish, the word “Cronkite” means “ailment.” In my house, every time Walter’s name came up, my mother laughed. He was, to her, “Walter Ailment.”

Everyone gets stuff wrong sometimes. Did he write his newscast to conform to his opinions? No. But did his personal beliefs have at least some effect on how he wrote and what he said? Not to the point of losing the reality or changing the facts, but a bit. Some.

Film at eleven! From Bizarro.Com

You can know all the details of an event, misadventure, or real catastrophe, but that’s the event portion. Mostly, the event is well-documented by enough people to be a “fact.” On the other hand, the breakdown of what an event means or meant is what I’m looking for. I assume we are all looking for that. Well, I used to think people were seeking truth. Now I think they are just looking for confirmation that whatever they already believe is true because someone somewhere said so.

Everyone has an opinion including journalists. Good ones do their best to not push personal opinions over the air. It doesn’t mean they don’t have an opinion. As for giving up on the news? How do you know where you fit in the world if you don’t follow the news? How do you know if the events in the world will affect you?

I can understand not wanting to spend all ones spare time dealing with the news — but no news? Then there are those who not only won’t watch news, they also don’t read. Probably this means they aren’t going to learn anything.

I do not believe school taught me much except the basics of reading and arithmetic. Everything else, I learned by reading, through work, and from personal experience. I get indigestion when I realize how few people actually read books anymore. I think it’s a mistake to withdraw from the world because you don’t like it. That’s how we got to where we are now and if most people keep doing the same thing, we’ll have the same results.

And then, there’s Faux Nooz.


Categories: #FPQ, #News, Anecdote, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Government, Humor, journalism, Media, newspapers, Provocative Questions

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16 replies


    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia, you point out a good life lesson that few seem to grasp. Each succeeding generation doesn’t deem it necessary to study its past. Thus, we are doomed to repeat those follies, over and over again. Seems so, um, STUPID.


  2. There aren’t a lot of great news guys around now. Mainly, they aren’t great because there’s no room for “great” in the world of modern news. SO many small stations are run by VERY red groups who DON’T want newscasters to forecast real news.

    I still feel I need to at least have a good general idea of what’s going on so I don’t sound like a total booby when the conversation inevitably turns to “what’s happening.” I also don’t leap on the “latest” news as if it’s the ONLY news. The first blare of “breaking news” turns out to be either incorrect (to some degree because, in the rush to get that “breaking news” on the air, they don’t wait until all their sources have checked in. Early latest new bulletins are often missing major (critical) details, or turn out to be wrong. The apologies get lost in the mad news shuffle and many people never even realize that some of what they are spouting to others was already retracted.

    So I watch, listen, and after a few days, I figure by then I have a grip on what’s going on. Not everything. We are not allowed to know ALL of it. It would probably be against FCC regulations!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back in the olden days, we had to load up on various and related subject matter to hopefully understand the world of journalism. No big deal, you needed to soak up as much as possible just to understand ‘what’s up, Dude?”. Some of us even played fantasy exercises, plying our trade in different eras.

      WARNING: Don’t go back to the future or past. Appreciate what it is now and just deal with it, Pilgrim!


  3. I agree. I right now have a major problem with ppl who have become so obsessed about anything C19 that they quote just about anything anywhere when they think it’s for the ‘right cause’. I also have many questions and doubts, and also think we all have majorly (is that even a word?) fouled up but at least I read every available and ‘reliable’ source before I voice an opinion. From the choice of your daily reading I believe you’re doing what I do too on my end, I would include the Guardian (UK, G & com), the Swiss ‘serious’ newspaper NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung), websites and quite a few online subscriptions. I also am an ardent reader and although I’m at my limit with reading due to failing eyesight, I still order books all the time. I MUST read – that’s one of my weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I try to keep up to date, but I don’t try to keep EVERYTHING up to date. There’s only so much I can handle. Also, after a certain amount of time, all I hear is jabbering. Whatever sense they were making becomes just noise. Still, I try to keep at least a couple of fingers in the “what’s going on” pile of stuff. Finding a point which gives you information without overwhelm you IS a balancing act!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have cut back significantly on the news I watch or read because it’s so depressing and it actually angers me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • We certainly don’t watch as MUCH news — by volume — as we did, but I want to know what’s going on. I’m still hoping to get a few positive words out of Da Newz. I live with hope, but mostly I’m sad because the world seems to be falling down.

      Liked by 2 people

      • One of the reasons I try to watch the evening news (part local, more network) is to find out WHAT has happened. I try to listen carefully over others who are talking OVER the news with their personal opinions. Aarrgh!
        We are usually “busy” with our own lives during the day and I, no longer, am addicted to checking the news frequently as I did during my working years.

        People like me – who spent decades – in the arena, covering news – have a need to know what the hell is happening. After the “what”, I begin to fill in the who, where and why. “Why” is the hardest part because you must know the history of the event. “Why” can’t be covered or scrutinized in the less than two minutes allotted to most news, radio, and TV reporters. Print journalists have their own time and space limitations with the same bleated protests that we mic holders have had for too many years.

        “I’m not sure the news was ever presented fairly…..every news group has its own agenda”. My, oh, my – you cut to the quick! My reason for being – for over 40 years – was to present the news as accurately as possible – frequently fighting my superiors as well as those who didn’t appreciate my “attitude”.

        During Boston’s infamous school integration period, when the city was engulfed in much sound and fury, I just stuck to what, who and why. It infuriated extremists everywhere who wanted the news to “tell it like it is” – in other words, THEIR side of the story. Forget objectivity.

        I often found “what” to be wrong. That’s the easiest to unravel. I usually multi-sourced (3 or more very reliable sources) the facts. Lots of cross checking with other media (mags, newspapers, etc)

        Often, the “man on the street” eye witness accounts were unreliable. Experience enabled me to deduce when someone was lying just to further their agenda and or get their 15 minutes of fame on television. Sometimes digging beyond the surface truth aggravated the suits who always wanted to be first, to have the scoop, and who cared little about the more complex truth that often rattled political cages. You can’t have that when you can run screaming headlines about the ‘usual suspects running rampant, terrorizing our precious town/city.” Sometimes local law enforcement officials were reluctant to expose their community’s dirty linen or the town’s power brokers.

        I prided myself on carefully listening to WHAT I was told and HOW I was told. (Ironic, yes, given my hearing impairment. I just listened LONGER). You learn a lot about the veracity of truth when really tuned into the person talking to you. Sometimes, I got my best tips from the unkempt folks who slept in alleyways rather than the buttoned down political and social leaders.

        I am proud of my body of work – because it was built on the information gathered from so many different places. Newspapers, magazines, dusty records stored on library micro film, crackling phone calls to far away places or small towns and repeated door knocks to verify info. Mostly small detail, unglamorous and oft repeated efforts to make sure Mrs. O’Leary’s cow WAS the perp who kicked over the lamp/pail to start the great Chicago fire of long, long ago. Little drama but lots of time invested to get those facts.

        How much time do today’s reporters have to sort out information? Precious little. They are on the scene as the incident is unfolding and asked to explain — IN that moment — who, what, where and why. Technology has helped and hurt by making everything faster with pictures and video from everyone on the street, most with no journalistic experience. Their input often supersedes what the professionals have seen. The anchors often interrupt the on-scene people with “… We have heard rumors — can you verify?”

        That slows down, muddies and weakens whatever the on-scene reporter might have to offer.

        It’s a far cry from the news arena I knew for more than 4 decades. Ironically, when I began my career, the old timers from the Ed Murrow era would criticize me with “…you young people, you TV pretty faces, you don’t know how to cover the news if it bit you on the nose”.

        Oh, the irony.


  5. I’m one of the ‘head in the sand and butt waving in the wind” sorts who refuses to read or watch the news. I just don’t want to know. It’s rarely good news. I’m a severe depressive. It’s actually detrimental to my mental health (and lately my physical health) to ‘be informed’. You did raise some very valid points though, ones that I overlooked when I wrote my own biased diatribe about Fandango’s question. Nobody can give a completely unbiased factual report of news because we all perceive things just the slightest bit differently from the next guy in line. I told Fandango and I’ll tell you, you two are my ‘sources’ these days. With Garry for some retrospectives which he delivers in fine style. I’m sure he was great at his job. The trick probably with any reporter or journalist is to present factual information with as little bias as possible. Because I haven’t viewed many (if any) who can do that these days, I’ve given up. I doubt some old bag from Utah is going to influence anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There aren’t a lot of great news guys around now. Mainly, they aren’t great because there’s no room for “great” in the world of modern news. All the small stations are run by VERY red groups who absolutely DON’T want newscasters to forecast actual news.

      And it isn’t just political swings left, right, and just plain weird. ESPECIALLY small-market stations are very busy cutting down on personnel, overtime, fees — and loading on-the-air performers with so much additional work — all that material going out on Facebook and Twitter and each station’s OWN blog — it’s amazing they manage to do a days work and somehow are ready to do another the next day. Garry would never have been able to deal with the current market. He is very focused on making the story on which he is working as accurate and coherent as possible. If he had had to add in covering all those blogs and social media outlets, they’d have had to bring him home on a gurney.

      I still feel I need to at least have a good general idea of what’s going on so I don’t sound like a total booby. I also don’t leap on the “latest” news as if it’s the ONLY news. A lot of the time, the first blare of “breaking news” turns out to be either incorrect, missing major details, or just plain wrong. So I watch, I listen, and after a few days, I figure I probably have a grip on what’s actually going on. Not all of it. We are not allowed to know ALL of it. It would probably be against FCC regulations!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Melanie, you are a LOVE!

      I am just reading your comments after writing a long winded thing of my own.

      I always tried – even with stories that seemed “obvious” (a tricky one!) to dig and do a complete job – even when my crews were frustrated with my “diligence” (“Garry, you are making a big deal out of a nothing story – we could be on a REAL story. Hurry up, man”). They were just repeating the rants from the suits who wanted us to be quick and find a good “if it bleeds, it leads” story.

      The “old bag from Utah” is nonsense, Melanie. YOU are heard by many people who respect your opinions.

      Thanks, again.

      Liked by 1 person

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