Thursday, April 13, 2017

What Is News?

(Source)
As opposed to "What's new?"

I like to stay abreast of what's happening in the world around me, locally and globally. The former because there may be something which impacts me directly, such as -
Main thoroughfare through downtown to be closed for construction on Monday.
This impacts me because I might need to take an alternate route if that's a road I use. (Where I live there are two main thoroughfares through town. Just two, I live on a peninsula.)

What if the weather is going to be bad? In the winter that's something to pay attention to, where I live it's kind of important during the rainier times of year as well. I've seen rain so heavy that you literally couldn't see much past the hood of your car.

News of new town ordinances and taxes (usually the two go hand in hand, the latter pays for the former) are also useful news to me.

A house fire on the other side of town? While it is news, it doesn't impact me directly. Unless I know the people who live in that neighborhood.

Now on the national and world level, there is a lot of news which doesn't effect me directly. Sometimes there's an indirect effect, like when the NORKs act up and start making threatening noises. Well, more threatening than usual. I have family in Korea, I have family (and not a few friends) onboard a certain aircraft carrier diverted from a visit to Australia back to the waters off the Korean peninsula.

So there are varying levels of news. I find most news interesting, what I don't find interesting is the opinions of people regarding the news. Especially from carefully coiffed people sitting in front of a TV camera telling me "what it all means."

While I have no problem with people expressing their opinions, it's when they take on an air of "trust me, this is the gospel truth I'm telling you" that gets my back up. Let me know that it's your opinion and I can accept that. Make me think that you know more than I and that what your selling is slanted in such a way as to make it unbelievable and not a bit unpalatable and yeah, the TV is off.

I don't watch the network news any more. There have been too many instances of them contradicting what I knew to be the facts, if not outright lying about it. I just don't trust them. They lost my trust back during the Vietnam War.

During the first Gulf War, we had CNN dialed in at my shop, it was on all day. A lot of what they reported was factual. A lot more was theatrical. Trying to sell air time, I get it, but for crying out loud don't lie to me.

I learned long ago not to rely on single source intel, unless that single source had always been accurate and reliable in the past. Multiple sources. I read a lot of stuff on the 'net, some of it seems credible, some of it seems nonsense. Those who report what appear to be the facts without pontificating as to "what it all means" get my attention.

The recent flap on that United flight springs to mind. Sure there were cell phones out and recording what was happening, but where were the cell phones at the gate? Where were the cell phones at the security desk? My point is we only saw half the story, if that much.

The news.

I take everything with a grain of salt these days. You have to.



22 comments:

  1. After reading or watching the media report on work incidents, I have changed the dial position from "a grain of salt" to "they are lying until proven otherwise".




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    1. Im in agreement, John. Our local privately owned weekly newspaper's local owners retired recently. It was common knowledge they liked asses instead of elephants, but the stories in the paper usually reflected both sides well. The paper was bought by a transplant from a state out west (I won't say which one but it has a coastline and begins with C).
      Since then, the asses can do no wrong and the elephant is the sign of the devil. Since their readership overwhelmingly votes R, they're shooting themselves in the foot. But their reporting has gotten so biased, I check a second source to confirm the final score of the high school football games.

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    2. Hahaha. (I'm laughing on the outside, crying on the inside.)

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    3. Juvat, regarding your local newspaper. What sustained small town newspapers were the classified ads. Craigslist on Facebook buy/sell groups has impacted that tremendously. That leaves local business advertising and local businesses have alternatives. What do you thin the over/under is for the new owners going broke and selling out (at a loss)?

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    4. Good points WSF. Online has made huge inroads into traditional advertising. (And is starting to do the same to the MSM, we can now check their "facts.")

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    5. There's a lot of grumbling going on, and there is a backlash in the letters to the editor section. We'll see.

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  2. I have been reading the bi-weekly local fish wrap since I moved.
    I am reserving judgement about them for the moment.
    Otherwise, the news either gives me a headache or puts me to sleep.

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    1. We have a weekly paper here. I used to read it when we first moved here just to get a feel for the town.

      I got to know the place, realized the local weekly didn't add anything I couldn't get elsewhere.

      As to the big newspaper in Little Rhody? A fine waste of ink and cheap paper.

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  3. In my life, I've only read two stories in the news where I had first hand knowledge or expertise (a very tiny window) in both cases the news had the facts and the conclusions wrong. I keep that in mind when I read or hear any reporting.

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  4. As a reporter and commentator for a weekly ag-oriented newspaper and former editor of my home town weekly, I can tell you that from top to bottom it's worse than you imagine.

    That girl in the picture reminds me of me back in July, 1969. Except I of course was infected by the dreaded y chromosome. It was a good time to be 10!

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    1. Heady times for a 16 year old as well. Of course, that whole Vietnam thing loomed on the horizon.

      "Gee, we landed on the moon, awesome. I wonder if I'm going to have to go to Vietnam in two years?"

      Exciting in good ways, and in bad. We lived in interesting times...

      (And still do.)

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    2. I think I still thought we were fighting the Germans and Japanese in Vietnam at the time. I knew every detail of Apollo but was a little fuzzy on most other real-world stuff.

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    3. Well, in your defense, you were ten.

      :)

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  5. Every Sunday for years I used to buy the NYT and head to a great coffee place in Del Mar where I would spend the whole morning reading the entire paper. I knew it was crap but there is nothing to beat Sunday morning swilling endless coffee on a patio high atop a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and reading about the world, new books, and the ever amusing opinion pages. Then I got married and that stopped. I read the WSJ instead, at home. Still made it out every weekend to read the local beach community weeklies because they had the Stupid Crooks page and interesting news about developments in Solana Beach, Del Mar, Cardiff and Encinitas.

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    1. There are times I get the urge to grab a Sunday paper and relive the days of my youth. Devouring the comics, the sports, the main news stories, and sometimes the editorials, were all things I used to enjoy on a Sunday.

      I do like the stupid crooks page, also the local rag has the police blotter, you can see who in town has been up to no good, allegedly of course.

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  6. I hate that the libs have such a stranglehold on most media, and they don't even try hide their biases anymore. It has caused almost every story regarding politics to have the slant about why this decision is bad, how it hurts poorminoritygreenwimmenkidsgaytranslibdogscats etc. Even the story today about using the MOAB to strike ISIS asked if it did any good or was done to deflect attention from Spicer's Holocaust gaff. I used to read the paper religiously, but I was finding less and less time to read them so I only get the Sunday one, mainly for the funnies and coupons.

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    1. Tuna, I don't think you are the only one in the "less and less" mode. The second Tuesay in November being a good example of that. The more of us coming and staying with that realization, the better off the Country will be. "Never give up, Never surrender!" (Stupid movie, great line!)

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)