Losing sleep over “Fake news” – Dick Hefton

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Dick Hefton

“Losing sleep over “FAKE news”? RX: Don’t love your local newspaper to DEATH!”

False reporting, a non sequitur called “Fake News”, for the most part rolls out of undisciplined sensationalist self-serving outlets –generally of a cyber nature, but put to compounded use by the so-called mainstream press to cover their biased journalistic transgressions. Now “bias” is an entirely different animal requiring a much more complicated definition than space here allows. But the short version was well demonstrated in the recent presidential election where the forlorn disenfranchised stood in for the forgotten “silent majority.” Rampant bias from most all the popular trend setters gave way to the gagged, un-Politically Correct.

Allowing a comic label such as “fake news” to influence your assessment of otherwise trusted sources of information is too easy a dodge. Weighing the truth of what you read, see or hear shouldn’t be taken thoughtlessly. Especially important now that we are constantly bombarded with propaganda we find bias creeping insidiously into news in the style of what our late friend, W. K. (Doc) Jordan, labelled in his novel, MIRAMAR SEDUCTION, as “Subliminal Suggestion!”

Opinion is fair thought-provoking journalism, that is, when published in an “Editorial” or “Opinion” section or broadcast. Analysis is recognized ethically when “bylines,” identify the reporter, or reporters, responsible for the news account. But a byline on a news story fails to supplant attribution and quotations backing up reliable sources, as demanded by reputable news organizations. And herein lays the devil! Untrained readers don’t generally catch innuendo dropped into the growing volume of captioned byline stories. Proliferation of this questionable practice inside the national news services (AP, UPI, Reuters, WSJ, WPS and NYT, to name a few), has reached such proportion that many publications have become concerned and have begun editing “the wire.” Publisher Chris Reen and Editor Kelly Dyer Fry mentioned their concern for this trend when hosting Club #29 on the recent Vocational Day visit.

The closer government it is to the people, the more trustworthy. The same observation applies to your local newspapers and other community media. I haven’t found anybody – news professionals and the general news hounds alike – who can predict the future process our information system will eventually focus upon. I do know that wire delivery was first introduced in the early 1800s, “the End of newspapers;” followed by Radio; followed by TV; and now by the Web. Each of these techno devises, taken alone, are mere vehicles for delivery. Like the “Tin Man” they have no brain, no information to convey. Radio and Television have made a place in the media mix over long periods of growth by expending the effort to become gatherers rather than simply deliverers, a responsibility open to the Web.

But we see what a disorganized, undisciplined “convenient untruth” that has thus far produced!

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