Good Night, Edward R Morrow, wherever you are

​The news isn’t trustworthy anymore. Every agenda needs to be understood. I want plain facts news. I want the heirs to Edward R Morrow, Walter Cronkite, and Dan Rather bringing me news that’s plain facts and aimed at finding the truth.

Every story needs to be verified and fact checked. Every agenda needs to be understood. From biased reporting to outright inventing stories, there’s so much junk out there that every person needs to be their own fact checker.

If the news I’m reading comes with a descriptor, like Christian News or Liberal News, or Libertarian News, it’s just someone shilling their agenda. I’m sorry if that hurts anyone’s feelings, but I’m only interested in unbiased reporting (as much as anyone can be truly unbiased) and the truth. (or give me a plain explanation of your agenda, so I can find a source biased against you to try to find the middle ground.)

My Facebook feed is dominated with alleged news stories proclaiming the righteousness of this side or that one. I’m drowning like drowning in a sea of tainted news and the problem isn’t new.

Oscar Wilde said in his essay “The Soul of Man under Socialism

Somebody — was it Burke? — called journalism the fourth estate. That was true at the time no doubt. But at the present moment it is the only estate. It has eaten up the other three. The Lords Temporal say nothing, the Lords Spiritual have nothing to say, and the House of Commons has nothing to say and says it. We are dominated by Journalism. In America the president reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.

The rest of the essay is Wilde talking about why he thinks about socialism is a bad idea. You can read that for yourself. What I found interesting was that even in 1891, when Oscar Wilde was writing, the press (and bias within the press) was a problem. He said “The tyrany it proposes to exercise over people’s private lives is quote extraordinary.” 

How much more of a problem is it now? Not only does no one really have any privacy, but journalism seems to have slipped backwards in time, looking for headlines to sell the papers more than looking for integrity in reporting and finding the truth. Some news sources go so far as to invent stories if nothing suitable to the viewpoint they’re peddling exists. 

Biased news and outright faked news fill our newsfeeds, shaping our perceptions of the world. It’s one thing to have your view changed by a better and more informed understanding of the facts of a situation. It’s another to have your view poisoned by someone else’s bias. Sadly, the world we live in is trying to do just that: buying and selling us for pennies a click.

The news isn’t trustworthy anymore. Was it ever really? Good Night, Edward R Morrow, wherever you are. I wish you and your kind would come back and restore integrity to journalism. Until then, I’ll be checking every so-called fact I read and scouring my news for bias.

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