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Friday, October 1, 2010

The Media and America’s Distrust of It

A recent Gallup poll claims that “the majority of Americans say they have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” 57% to be exact. (Gallup poll with annual chart here)

Dear Media: WAKE UP! When the majority of America doesn’t trust you, you’d better listen and clean up your act.

I’m not one of those people who distrusts the Media and thinks it all should be burned to the ground. I am, however, one of those people who realizes and comprehends the Media is slanted, or flat-out biased at times.

Unfortunately, it seems news organizations have always been used for political and personal gain. Yes, there are plenty of cases where the news and information is given to us straight; I’m not throwing the baby out with the bath water. However, the fact cannot go unnoticed that the Media is human and can be persuaded by many things, including personal opinion and bias.

Yes, Fox News provides its viewers with right-leaning programming. Yes, CNN and MSNBC provides its viewers with left-leaning programming. And then there’s the BBC, which depending on the day, story, topic, and writer, can be any of the above or more.

Yes, Fox News has plenty of commentary and pundit broadcasts that result in a veil of conservatism across their network, justly or unjustly so; likewise, CNN and MSNBC have plenty of commentary and pundit broadcasts that result in a veil of liberalism across their networks, again, justly or unjustly so.

You, fortunately (or unfortunately, as the Media and some politicians would have it), are an individual; you gather information from multiple sources, you think things through before you offer up a knee-jerk reaction, and you form your own opinion.

Unfortunately, though, you may not be any of that. You may very well be a person who reacts mostly on emotion and feeling, rather than logic and truth. If so, unfortunately for you, the Media and some politicians prefer your type and are quick to take advantage.

Ask yourself this:

-Do I distrust the Media?

-Do I even think twice about what they tell me?

-Do I ever consider secondary or additional sources?

-Why or why not?

I must add the following statement: if you’re watching ‘the news of the day’, which more of less repeats the goings-on of the day while you were at work, and tends to be more bad news than good, you’re probably safe in choosing any news organization.

However, if you’re listening for facts and stories, ultimately the information which will help form your opinion, and the subject brings with it a potential gain of any kind, consider your source and get a second opinion.

There’s no harm in due diligence. In fact, it’s best.

And it’s OK to turn the channel to ‘the enemy’ on a regular basis; over time you’ll probably start to realize that you’re becoming your own individual, thinking for yourself and forming your own opinion.

2 comments:

  1. I think the media is full of a bunch of over paid marketers who put out what sells. Death and destruction sells. Unfortunately we are past the times of "truth in marketing." Truth doesn't sell (at least not the good stuff). When it comes to the media, you get what you read. Watching, reading, or listening to any of it is like spinning a wheeel - you get what you get. If you want to be informed you have to investigate the issue - time and patience will get you what you need to know. Unfortunately our socitey does not have time nor patience. If you really want to know what is going on, take a look around you. React to what you see around you, see the now. Too many people are lead by the medai, and too few actually make decisions on their own. If you want to make a decision, then make one. Don't rely on the BS fed to you by the media. Look, listen and learn. Be you, now what socitey expects you to be.

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  2. I think the media is great. Who really cares what side they're on? If someone is listening to the news and bases all their views in life off of what they say, that's the issue. The idea of media is to report it; with or without an angle. Personally, I listen/watch all sides understanding the bias views and use them to form my own. I would hope, or should I say would have thought that most others did the same. Either way, worst case scenario, someone was informed of a story they may have not previously known about. To me, that's pretty great.

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