I want to go down memory lane a bit and talk about the news I grew up with way before fake news infiltrated our world.
My recollection of “news” growing up was hearing it on the radio and seeing my parents with the paper in their hands every night. In Dallas we had a morning and evening paper. One was considered to have Democratic views and the other had a Republican slant. It was my sense that my parents believed everything they read in those papers as the gospel truth.
In 1940 the original TV news program was seen in New York. It was a simulcast of Lowell Thomas’ NBC network radio newscast.
In my home town Dallas TV was not seen until December 3, 1949.
I remember voices barreling from both the radio and TV in no-nonsense fashion. They just stated the news without comment or opinion. It was unheard of to get teasers throughout the day. If news was “breaking” they just broke in and told the audience what was going on.
One famous Newscaster was named Edward R. Murrow. He is an example of what we do not have today in the world of journalism. He lived from 1908 to 1965. He was an example of honesty and integrity in delivering the news. There is a school of journalism named after him where he graduated at Washington State University in WA state. During his career he wrote a series of news reports that lead to the censure of U. S. Senator Joseph McCarthy during a dark time in American history. He received many awards both during his life and after his death. Many awards are named after him as well as a park in D.C., a school in Brooklyn, New York, and a street in Greensboro, North Carolina. Reporters and Journalist like him were why people trusted the media without reservation.
Fast forward to 1980. A fellow named Ted Turner started CNN which stood for Cable News Network. He created CNN to broadcast news on television twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I believe that just listening to the same news over and over again during a twenty-four hour period became tiresome and boring for those watching. So broadcasters began throwing out opinions and bringing on guest who also threw in their own two cents worth. I don’t know if the political views of the ownership of the station or producers were what was featured but opinions were not necessarily facts. I think this was the birth of FAKE NEWS.
I am looking forward to writing more instalments about truthful and fake new from my perspective. I think it is clear how and why journalism has gotten to the point of no return. I think many young people have no sense of what role news is supposed to play in our lives. My thought is that information is a tool. Whether it be news or education the highest purpose it can offer is to get us to think and evaluate what we hear and read and then make decisions on facts. Fact check, fact check, fact check. Skepticism is healthy. The goal of news and education is not to tell us what to think but encourage us to think. If one can not listen to opposing views one is not secure in what they believe. Not thinking but only following can be a symptom of being buried in ignorance in my humble opinion.