In the spirit of full disclosure, it’s been years since I’ve watched any prime-time network news broadcasts. That doesn’t make me superior to anyone and hopefully doesn’t make me inferior. I grew up with Walter Cronkite. He gave us the nightly news without biased commentary or inuendo. He left it up to us to interpret the local, national and world events without an implied agenda. It was a nod to the intellectual abilities of those receiving the news.
I remember the first time I heard the phrase, “Fake News.” I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes both literally and figuratively. But it wasn’t long before I realized the landscape of reporting had changed and not for the better. Traditionally newspapers, magazines and television broadcasts made their revenue from advertising. Those media channels are dying, leaving the internet as their primary source of revenue. Clicks are now the source of income and survival. And in order to get clicks they must be out there first and be a little more sensational than their competition. Fact checking be damned. Headlines not factual reporting but teasing click-bait. Why would you say, “It’s Snowing Over Missouri,” when you can say, “Weather Experts Warn of Life-Threatening Conditions Across the Midwest?”
Enter The Leader.
The Leader is the weekly newspaper in our little corner of the world and fits perfectly with our new life on The Four-Acre Wood. CNN, Foxnews, MSNBC, etc. provide an endless stream of drama, teasing and biased reporting that has no relevance to me other than an attempt to get me spooled up about an issue that I cannot possibly change and may not even be accurate or true.
In contrast, the lead story of the latest edition of The Leader is about a third grader from our local school district receiving an award from the Rock Community Fire Protection District. Next to that is an article about the city council debating changes to the floodway building codes. Since we are a community of flawed humans there are also these stories; “Couple allegedly steals from, damages rental home, “and SUV stolen from outside rec center.” But next is the gripping story, “Jefferson College Fieldhouse getting new gym floor.”
None of that is “Fake News.”
You might say, “You’re just sticking you head in the sand.”
You might be right, but in the meantime, it’s going to get into the single digits tonight. I’ve got to go and refill the bird feeder; they are counting on us. It’s a little act that I can affect.