Listeners beware!

Published 4:23 pm Friday, February 21, 2020

A constant stream of information seems ideal for those who want to know what is happening in national government and world affairs.

The 24-hour news channels would seem to be a gift to those who thirst for information and understanding, but the sad truth is, most of what passes for news on these stations is little more than opinion, conjecture and bombastic fluff.

These same pundits and soothsayers blast politicians for giving soundbite-laden speeches and castigate government officials for not discussing issues.

But watching most of the programs on these news channels reveals a group of hosts that express strong opinions and provide simplistic, one-sided versions of issues…that is when issues are actually discussed. And they then add insult to injury by inviting like-minded guests to offer one-sided opinions as well.

The problem is not so much that these channels devote most of their airtime to op-ed material, at times in the guise of news, but that these programs rarely delve deeply into issues.

They trivialize important issues by attempting to make them cartoonish in nature – good versus evil – but the most egregious sin these channels commit is in engaging more in the “cult of the personality” rather than deal with what might actually require a command of the facts and an understanding of the issues.

Local news outlets with limited resources and very small staffs often cannot delve deeply into issues and must trust what officials say to be truthful, but these news channels have millions of dollars at their disposal and an unlimited corps of researchers and news personnel.

There is no excuse for the poor content on these channels except that it is easy.

Some fill our minds with the conservative slant; others stake out the liberal slant. But where is the objective, fact-finding that is supposed to be the hallmark of good journalism?

It’s not on the networks – their news divisions have been gutted – and it’s certainly not on the personality-driven news channels.

Let the listener beware, because what you hear on the news is probably only a portion of the truth. Worse yet, it might even be a distortion of the truth.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald