Thursday, June 15, 2006

What passes for NEWS these days....

I tend to be a news junkie and then when I overdo it, I draw back and tell myself that what has happened/is happening isn't changed because I turn on CNN or ABC or MPR whatever. I do believe in being an informed citizen, so I do try to keep up with the "NEWS," such as it is.

I remember being taught about news and journalism in high school (see previous post) and learning that there was (supposed to be) a difference between the news reporting and the editorials. I don't see that difference anymore. While it would be humanly impossible to keep all bias out of reporting, I believe there should be an attempt at separation.

But, at least on the news on my satellite TV stations, we have anchor persons who are well known to have a certain slant to their reporting as well as anchors who bait their interviewees. My personal pet peeve is when there are "experts" discussing an issue who constantly interrupt the other person. Louder isn't more correct.

Fortunately, there are other anchors/reporters on other stations who report on some misstatements and lies others have made. And some of the news shows are made fun of on talk shows for their slants.

What to do? Well, keep an open mind, for one thing. Check out several sources. Look for news on the internet that comes from many sources. There are blogs which supposedly give the "other" side of just about any issue you may want to read about. [One of the problems with the blogs, I've found in my limited reading, is that some of these are also very slanted and won't allow comments by people who disagree with their "facts"or viewpoints.]

And it wouldn't hurt to let the news stations know that we want editorials separated from reporting. Yet we have to applaud investigative reporting, so we don't just accept what seems to be superficially true or what is handed out by politicians trying to be reelected.

But who has time for all of this? Not people who are working and thinking and raising families, that's for sure.

But we do have to hone the skills necessary to see biases and slants. The following was lifted from a discussion on an internet group I belong to.

"Another excellent book is With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies by S. Morris Engel."

<< If we could get everyone in the country to read something like this, what passes for modern journalism would be in deep trouble!>>

"Ain't that the truth. I was pondering recently which fallacies are most common amongst the talk show crowd, but there are so many it's hard to say for sure. Ad hominem attacks (on the speaker rather than the argument); bifurcation (saying it's either this or that, when there may be other alternatives); equivocation (changing the meaning of a key word); omission of relevant facts; false cause; hasty generalization... it's endless! My husband and I have fun playing "Name That Fallacy" when listening to political commentators, especially."

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