Back in the day, Walter Cronkite signed off on the news by saying “And that’s the way it is.” Everyone of  a certain age knew this because a great deal of the population received their new via Walter and the six o’clock news. There were morning and evening editions of the paper, and people turned on their radios to get updates. Magazines gave us other sorts of news on a weekly or monthly basis. And of course, for local news, there was the daisy chain. The average person probably received information from about five sources.

How many ways do you receive information?

I woke at seven and looked at blogs and emails. Maybe I read and responded to about twenty or thirty. Then I looked at my email: New York Times. Wall Street Journal. AMNY. Yahoo News. Pure Wow. Thrillist. In ninety minutes I’ve gotten information from maybe 35 sources.

35. At least.

And my day has just begun.

Can you say glut of information?

I’m going to remind you of a little history. In the late 1800’s Hearst and Pulitzer were in a battle for readership in New York City. They both wanted to be Number 1. So they decided to put their resources into escalating tensions between the US and Spain. Yellow journalism. Using second and third hand accounts. Fabricating stories. Exacerbating events. Information received through interpreters who may or may not have understood English or Spanish particularly well. And the quote: “Please remain. You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”

The media. Out for their own interests since 1898.

I’d like to say that we’ve learned from this, but over a hundred years later, are we still taking liberty with the news to gain readership?

Does the media push the buttons to make things run?

Does the media determine which stories are “more important”?

Does the media determine what is right and what is wrong?

Is the media really impartial?

My daughter was recently “hired” by her school newspaper. (Hired is sort of misleading, because though she did have to apply and be interviewed, she does not get paid) When she joined she pledged to not write for any other news outlet. She is not allowed to write an editorial for the paper because she is “staff” and therefore not allowed to publicly hold an opinion on topics. She is also not allowed to visibly support someone running for an office at her school. If her roommate was to run for Student Council secretary my daughter would not be allowed to wear a “Vote Roommate” pin or hand out a flyer. My daughter is supposed to remain impartial because she is a journalist and has to maintain journalistic integrity.

Shouldn’t we hold the people who get paid to impart the news to same standard as we do a 17 year old young woman?

Does journalistic integrity even exist?

Next time you check the news, ask yourself if it is being delivered impartially. Then ask yourself why it’s not, because I’m going to bet there’s a slant, and I don’t care what channel or source you’re looking at. Ask yourself why the media needs to tell you what your opinion is? Is the media’s job to furnish you with your opinion?

“Remember the Maine” because “that’s the way it is.”

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47 thoughts on ““And That’s the Way it Is”

  1. So well said LA!

    Years ago, I noticed how certain issues would become front and center on every news channel. And then they would disappear just as quickly. Same with stories, where all of a sudden every missing spouse was narrated as if a murder mystery. And on and on like this, with each news agency feasting at the right hand of their ratings.

    Great piece.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have 4 local affiliates of the top network news organizations. I grew up in a home that always watched the ABC affiliate. As an adult, I moved on to the NBC affiliate who has local anchors/reporters that I like listening to.

    Just within the past 2 years they have begun a commercial campaign to highlight their anchors speaking about their passion for “standing for truth.” I take this to mean unbiased reporting. They have also changed, shuffled and let go personal who do not fit a very specific demographic. While a few journalists still attempt to keep up appearances, it’s clear that their truth only applies in specific, corporate driven policies based upon how they have changed their focus and what they report on.

    I will not go to the FOX affiliate. It’s time to try CBS for my local news. As to national coverage. I do my best to avoid as much of it as possible. Very little truth anywhere anymore…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t watch tv news anymore, unless Good Morning America counts as news. I glance headlines, and if something intrigues me I read a few different versions of the story. Somewhere in there is the truth

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Very well stated! I have relatives and friends from both extremes and get inundated with the same story told from various viewpoints – all subject to the writers opinions. I think the way that your daughters school is handling journalism is amazing – and should be the gold standard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Professional journalists are a dying breed. In the UK, our nationally funded broadcaster the BBC employs news presenters rather than journalists. In-depth investigations are a thing of the past, with multiple news providers relying on members of the public to provide stories and photos, resulting in gossip rather than news. Rather than investigative journalists we now have individuals seeking celebrity via the spouting of diversive opinions. What’s worse is the increasing percentage of the population who simply swallow any old rubbish “because it’s in the papers so it must be true” without seeking any corroborating facts & figures. Frankly, I despair.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No one actually listens to what’s being said, and processing it. And you’re right….journalists are a dying breed….it’s now anyone with a phone and internet connection

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Very well worded. It’s amazing to me how obviously a story can be slanted and people just blindly accept it. When I hear the words, “We at blankety-blank haven’t confirmed this report at this time, but….” then spew nonsense they don’t even know is true yet, it makes my blood boil. Get the facts, report the facts, and don’t tell me what I should be thinking while doing it. Love your take on it and agree 100%!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Of course they’re not impartial. And, just dunking my head a tad beneath the surface of writing and into the field of paid content writing has shown me that everyone is just as grabby for readership as what you’ve described.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Come on LA. That’s hitting’ below the fold. You can either have a bunch of often overripe yellow and partisianly bruised banner headlines, or a single press of pomegranate propaganda straight from whatever politburo is currently in season.

    Are reporters bias?– sorta, and damn near always. Journalist are human. And politics, if nothing else is subjective. And facts are often fungible given civil context. And having to provide hoi polloi context to civic concerns is as hard as getting more than three precent of Americans to read the Mueller report. So some are reading bias for attempt at placing events in context.

    And for anonymous sources, the current impeachment kerfuffle was started by a legally codified, by the congress and courts, anonymous source. The law of the land.

    Yea, it is tough parsing reporting here in America. Attributing the slant to why and when and what for into who’s pocket? Numerous interest, parties, people, and purposes all have an interest in how the news plays. And some will team up. I agree, it’s hard to do. Too many players and the usually suspects.

    But I think it better than Moscow, Tehran, and Pyongyang. Where one’s civic duty is to let your betters decipher the world in play.

    Regards,
    Doug

    Like

    1. Valid points as always. My main issue, which I’m going to blog about this week or next is knowing the difference between opinion , editorial, and actual fact. Though anonymous source is credible under certain circumstances, unverified is too wide a net to cast. I also should never know which way a news anchor blows….the reporting should be as uneditorialized as possible…..

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi LA :

    I do not watch news at all. Someone asked me ” Don’t you want to know what’s going on?” . To which I replied ” Why do I need to know this stuff?” Life is calm here by the sea, ignorance can be bliss sometimes. 🤗😊

    Liked by 2 people

  9. There’s always a slant to any news source. Even good old Walter had his way of spinning things. What’s the old saying: believe none of what you hear and half of what you see? Seems especially pertinent in today’s world, she says in a cynical voice.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I generally get my news from Philip Defranco on YouTube and a local radio broadcaster who posts on Facebook every day. I also watch the NBC nightly news on YouTube. Plus what I go looking for online. My son uses the tv to play video games. I don’t have cable and terrible reception for the antenna. I used to read the Oregonian paper but its gotten too expensive to buy every day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I miss the days when journalists had to be objective. I never knew if Walter Cronkite voted Republican or Democrat. The same was true of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. I loved watching their coverage of the parties’ respective conventions in election years. Now, I cringe at the election coverage coming from cable networks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking that as I wrote …..I have no idea what side of the aisle the commentators I grew up watching were. I still don’t know if Barbara Walters is a Democrat or republican, and I like that I don’t know. She treated everyone the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. As someone who covered the news for 30 years, I’ll say it’s impossible not to have an opinion, but you try your best to present both sides. Journalists are human, of course they have opinions on what they’re covering, but if they’re any good readers don’t know it. That being said, I’ve never seen so much spinning on both sides of the political aisle as I have in recent months. We need to remember that our founding fathers wanted a free press for a very good reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone has a side. I should not know the side when I’m reading the “facts”. I will not watch tv news anymore because it’s ridiculous. I’ll read the news because I have a small shot at being able to pull out the truth in the coverage

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I believe journalistic integrity exists, yes. But we’re in a new place where facts are now challenged as fake news simply because it doesn’t square with what people want to hear. I still believe in the institutions of journalism. But I’m old-fashioned enough to only want them from sources I feel are independent. So entities like Vox, Buzzfeed, etc. make me suspicious. I’m much more comfortable with conventional sources such as the Washington Post, LA Times, NYT, WSJ, CBS, NBC, and PBS. Hell, even the National Review is conventional enough for me these days. I’m not inclined to watch any of the cable news channels, even those which ostensibly are more in line with my way of thinking (i.e. MSNBC).

    Kudos to your daughter. I hope she finds the experience of writing for the Hatchett to be helpful and instructive. – Marty

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wonder about mainstream news as well. A few of these papers have been caught juggling the truth, and they still determine what they”lead” story is on any given day. Personally, I find a story that intrigues me and read different views about that topic. My goal is to be informed well on one thing instead of knowing a smattering of info. And buzzfeed….let’s just say that there offices are near my house….I’ve seen these “journalists”. They should probably go back to reviewing ice cream shops…..

      Like

  14. I don’t watch/read the news anymore. I have the radio on in the morning to the local PBS classical station. I listen to the 0800 news broadcast (ignoring the lead story which is always negative on Trump) and figure if something big has happened in the world they will tell me. Then I go 24 hours in ignorance. (Though if something major happened my husband would tell me when he got home.)
    I got tired of the reporting telling my what to think about something instead of just giving me the facts and letting my decide for myself what I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. The requirements for your daughter’s newspaper are excellent. I read one online publication and get bombarded with opinions from other sources constantly. Husband John reads widely, so if I want to know about the veracity of a story, I ask him. He gets news from widely different angles. I miss Walter Cronkite.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I can’t say how much I wished the national news media lived by the same standards that your daughter does in her new job. The problem for me isn’t so much that we get too much information; the problem is that we don’t get the kind of information we actually need!

    Liked by 1 person

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