Why We Don’t (Or Shouldn’t) Trust the News

I’ll start this post with a simple note: I’m not saying that one news organization is worse than any other news organization. As a general rule, I don’t trust any of them. They are a business more than an informative source that appeals solely to the audience that watches them rather than educating the viewers of what is actually going on. By keeping their own angles and biases, they keep their audiences which allow for them to make more money. It’s no different from watching anything else on television. Personally, I feel that any American should be appalled that we need to read ten different articles and watch 3 different stories on the television on the same topic to get a feel for some sort of truth. We the viewers are not well-informed, and we should be angered that these organizations allow us to follow brainlessly. Democrat or Republican or the people who are too ill-informed to decide what they are should figure out a better solution, because the businesses won’t.

With that entirely separate rant completed, I hope the point gets across what I’m about to write isn’t there to “pick on” Fox News, it’s just the news that is watched in my household and watched in awe that I saw incorrect “facts” said aloud and passed off as correct. Nothing seems to infuriate me more than watching people who are looked to for information spout out information that isn’t quite true, or even in one case is viewed as ignorant and hateful. I don’t know what’s worse, the idea the governmental organizations reciting propaganda on both sides so we trust neither or a person on a news organization people trust saying something that could easily be construed as hate propaganda.

The first issue I had occurred last week, when a guest stated that it was unfair for Catholics to pay into insurance companies that practice against their beliefs and especially the abortion pill. My first issue with this statement was he was referring to the Plan B pill, which isn’t an abortion pill, as last I checked abortion occurred after conception where the Plan B is used before conception to prevent it. I suppose that’s a minor mistake, but one that could matter when inciting the masses. The other issue was more minor, when he was saying how Catholics shouldn’t have to be forced to pay into insurance plans that offer services that they are morally opposed. I’m pretty sure Catholics help pay into my health plan, and I get all those services they are offended by. I fail to see the difference, but I suppose you could just say I’m a blind, uneducated liberal.

That wasn’t what I took the greatest offense in. Last night, I saw a member on a panel say that Islam and the Qur’an doesn’t promote peace in their religion. The quote was something along the lines of “The Qur’an doesn’t mention peace”. My religion professor at my Catholic College would be proud of my listening in anger at this. I had a flashback to his classes on Islam, and now regret not talking the field trip to the mosque, because I would’ve been able to instantly say with certainty that this was a false statement. Luckily I’m a dork that kept all my college text books, including my books on religion. These books are The World’s Religions by Huston Smith and The Major Religions by T. Patrick Burke. In reading those texts and browsing the internet (Homeland Security, I’m not a terrorist, I just wanted to be informed.), I discovered that I was right. There are several mentions of not only peace, but tolerance of others who believe in different religions. This commentator’s flaw was not only did she lack information before spreading them to the masses, she allowed herself to fall victim to stereotyping a religion based on extremists. Someone of her standing, who has a power to influence others, should have thought before saying something that I, an American who grew up Catholic, even found in poor taste and hateful. I grew up with a strong belief that I instill in my son: people shouldn’t be judged based on their differences, whether it be religious or lifestyle or race. To classify a whole religion as violent terrorist organization is what is ruining American ideals. If a Muslim had said the same about the Christians, this wouldn’t have been allowed to be said and there would be a tremendous outrage.

I apologize for a post longer and more serious than my others. I lack any patience with people in a strong position of influence to use it for their own agendas. I reiterate my point that this wasn’t an attack on Fox News as I’m sure if I watched any of the other news channels, I would find similarly false and biased agendas. Maybe I should, to prove a point that journalists need to go back to the days when journalistic integrity mattered, not how many people can we get to shovel money at us. I will admit, part of me takes the most offense of this coming from a channel that touts a “Fair and Balanced” agenda. This saddens me, since once I used to want to be a journalist. I learned quickly that I’m too opinionated to give a fair opinion on a topic, so I felt that it was against the morals of journalism to go into with a biased point of view. Maybe we need more people like me that realized if I couldn’t be fair; to find something that suits us more.

One thought on “Why We Don’t (Or Shouldn’t) Trust the News

  1. Lisa Purcell says:

    I try not to watch news channels (anymore) and instead get my news from the newspaper and online. I got tired of all of the sad, depressing stories, and realized I didn’t have to watch. (I would often walk away feeling mortified and depressed, particularly about child abuse cases, murders, animal abuse, etc. I feel so much better now that I don’t take a daily dose of that!) However, a few years ago, when I did still watch, Fox News would drive me crazy with their slanted coverage. (They weren’t the only ones, but I’m focusing on them because of your post. For the record, I’m an Independent and take what I like from both sides!) One day it occurred to me, that it wasn’t actually ‘news’ if it was biased! News is supposed to be ‘just the facts’ – and the viewer can make up their own mind. I also realized that Fox News calls THEMSELVES the news, and this is why they are taken so seriously (by some!) I decided to annoint them ‘The Fox Entertainment Channel’ and wala- they lost all of their power. I never got angry again, and in fact, had some fun with it. If you think about it- anyone can call THEMSELVES the news.


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