Monday, August 24, 2020

This is why people distrust the mainstream media.

by Rod Williams - The distrust of the media is overwhelming among those on the right.  It is so pervasive that simple facts are often not accepted.  Sometimes I will post some commentary on Facebook about some item in the news and link to the story and instead of getting a reasoned comment in response, the facts about which I am opining are simply dismissed with comments such as "consider the source," or "you need new sources," or just "fake news."  Other times what I have posted is simply dismissed with a "Washington Post?" or "Huffpost?" 

The other day I had a dismissive reply of "Wkrn? Seriously?" to something I posted.  The story was carried in any number of sources and the facts and quotes were not in doubt.  There was even video of the President saying the thing about which I opined about.  One may disagree about how one interprets what he said.  I may respect your opinion even if we don't agree but to dismiss the whole topic because it was carried by WKRN is just irrational. 

Sometimes it seems the only acceptable source for those on the right is Brietbart News and locally Tennessee Star.  Of course if Rush or Hannity said it,  it  is gospel. Even Fox News is being called into question as a reliable source for some on the right.  Of course those on the left dismiss anything covered by Fox News as simply propaganda and I doubt they will even read the story. 

This is disheartening.  I certainly think the mainstream news has a liberal bent. We know that most reporters are liberal.  Studies of campaign contribution from journalist and content analysis have demonstrated this bias again and again.  However, that does not mean that a liberal journalist cannot get the facts right in reporting. Trained journalist normally get the who, when, what, and sometimes the why right even if they have liberal opinions.  Even if the liberal bias slips into a story, it is better to  be informed rather than uninformed. I don't think even liberal journalist just make stuff up.

It seems there is a lack of critical thinking across the spectrum and critical reading skills.  If a news story confirms ones biases then it is believed; if it does not, it is dismissed.  Critical thinking has been replaced by the shortcut of asking is this publication on my side or the other side. There also seem to be an attitude that my mind is made up, don't confuse me with facts and don't make me think.

Having said all of the above however, there are reasons why the media is so distrusted.  The attached snippet is from a story appearing the Monday August 24th USA Today about who the speakers would be at the Republican convention. If that is all you knew about this story you would think that peaceful protestors where strolling down a residential street and these people came out on their porch to threaten them.  There is more to the story. 

The protestors had invaded a gated community.  The entry was posted "private property," and  "no trespassing." The protestors  forced open the gate and in the process damaged it. The were not on a public street. The roads in a gated community are private property and everything within the boundary of a gated community is private property.  Obviously, one does not have the right to protest on  someone else's private property.  The mob had already trespassed and damaged property. A mob of at least 100 had broke into the couple's gated community and came rushing toward their house, causing the couple to fear for their lives.  The McClosky's were taking reasonable precautions to protect their property and maybe their lives. They had every reason to be reasonably afraid of being in imminent danger.   

It is reporting like this snippet from USA Today that causes many people to have an almost kneejerk reaction of rejection of almost everything reported by a mainstream press. 

For video of the episode described follow this link. For more see these links: here, here, here

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